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Thread poster: Deschant
Callan method
Deschant
Local time: 06:47
Feb 25, 2005

Have you had any experiences with the Callan method? Does it really work? I've read about it and I find it a bit weird, but some Callan students had told me they have really learnt English this way. This is not a professional question, I'm only curious about it. Thanx!

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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:47
Member (2004)
German to English
I used to be highly suspicious but have seen people succeed with it Feb 25, 2005

A few years ago when I taught English and ran a language school I was highly suspicious as the Callan method is contrary to EFL because it is highly structured and involves endless repetition. In addition the books I saw were very old fashioned. However I have a friend - a lovely Brazilian lady in her fifties - who has learned to speak English in around a year using this method - from scratch. Her English is not perfect but she can certainly hold a conversation on any subject. She left the Callan method to take specialist classes to prepare for the Cambridge suite of exams. I have to say I am impressed. There is so much more to learning a language than what we are taught in the "official method".

[Edited at 2005-02-25 13:24]


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Sonia Atkinson  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:47
Member (2010)
Italian to English
+ ...
Callan method Feb 25, 2005

My boyfriend went to the Callan school in London and went on to complete the preliminary and first certificate in English with good marks. It does seem to work, although it is certainly a very different method from the usual EFL standards.

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Deschant
Local time: 06:47
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting! Feb 25, 2005

The thing is, I can't really understand why it works. I don't know much about the Callan method but, as far as I know, ´the teacher asks quickly one question until the students can say the right answer automatically. Are the students encouraged to "create" new answers? If the method were only repetition, even parrots would be able to learn English!

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Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 02:47
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
As with all teaching methods... Feb 25, 2005

it has some strengths and weaknesses. Mainly, its focus is on developing speaking skills and yes, repetition of common structures and limited vocabulary does make wonders for beginner-intermediate students. It's based on producing language as a reflex (much as the Total Physical Response method).

Also, since it is teacher-centered and produces fast results, it succeeds in building up student confidence and reducing stress (kind of like the Suggestopaedia method; excellent for adults).

The teacher also has very strict teaching guidelines and everything you need is included in the core books, hence, you consistently deliver a good class with almost no preparation at all (if you know the method well, of course).

Another strength is that the learning experience is very similar for all students; if they attend classes they get to the same level and statistically achieve similar results (i.e., there are no great deviations in score marks).

And for the weaknesses... well, they are the same!

It only works up to intermediate levels. After that, you're on your own, and you have at least a couple of years of reading to catch-up with if you want to move on to upper levels. But then again, many people just want to learn what is necessary to communicate (for business purposes, traveling, etc.).

Repetition can get extremely boring and prompt students to skip classes (although if they get pass the "boredom stage" they soon realize the method is working and that is a great motivation).

Since it is easy to teach, you can train a batch of mediocre (or plain bad) teachers to do it (parrots you said?), which obviously leads nowhere. And, since results are so even, you can have a student with above-average learning abilities snoozing over the same Q&As over and over.

All things considered, I think it is a good method for certain specific purposes. It’s certainly not new (1960s), and it draws things from other methods as well (and these methods do seem impossible at a first glance, like TPR or the Silent Way).

Amazingly, these kind of "reflex" methods do work. I was subject to TPR unknowingly when I took up karate lessons. Every command is naturally issued in Japanese; for example, students are required to count from 1 to 10 when practising techniques (or doing push-ups, and so on). The sensei just names a student and he starts counting (the next in line takes up after he reaches ten). For the first couple of months he obviously skipped me, and then out of the blue he called out my name and there I was, suddenly counting in Japanese. I had never practised it, or seen it in writing, or even worried that I should have to do it one day (since the sensei always skipped me). It had just become a reflex from hearing others saying it, and I can assure you I didn't even realize I was counting in Japanese until I reached 10. And, years gone by, I can still count to 10 without hesitation (and also learnt many body parts/blows in Japanese as well).

But then again, the shortcomings of these methods are obvious. My Japanese pronunciation is... well... learnt from the repetition of students repeating the instructions of a non-native teacher. Er... anyway, the aim was to learn karate, not Japanese!


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Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 02:47
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
I just found... Feb 25, 2005

a link that briefly explains the Callan method (and others as well):

http://www.republika.pl/m_marczak/pages/methods11.htm


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fgomes
English
Callan Method... but in German? Oct 28, 2005

Hi, folks.

I had classes with Callan Method and it really works.
In fact, I have done 4 or 5 different courses before and I had very good vocabulary... but no confidence and fluency.

Now I'm confident and at moment I'm in the US attending a customer in a 6 week trip.

Now I'd like to learn German using Callan Method.
If you have heard something like this, please let me know.

Thanks,

Fernando Gomes


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lanzarotti  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:47
Italian to English
+ ...
still there? Dec 2, 2006

Hi!
Though this topic is rather old, I happened to come across it only now as I was looking for some information on English Language teaching. I have been teaching to groups (mainly adults, thank goodness!) only for a couple of years, and have always used traditional methods and books. But now I have been asked to hold a course (adults again!) with a lot focus on communication (survival English I presume) and hardly any grammar. I am rather sceptical but apparerntly this is what students have specifically asked for, so I was browsing the forum for some ideas... Maybe this Callan Method would be a solution? I have tried the link posted by Rossana but, unfortunately, it no longer exists... can anyone suggest some books/websites that could help me in my task?
Thank you all for your help
have a nice weekend


[Edited at 2006-12-02 10:21]


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xxxIngrid O
Local time: 15:47
English
Callan method Dec 19, 2006


lanzarotti wrote:

Hi!
I have tried the link posted by Rossana but, unfortunately, it no longer exists... can anyone suggest some books/websites that could help me in my task?
Thank you all for your help
have a nice weekend


[Edited at 2006-12-02 10:21]


I checked the website too and found it has changed slightly, but still exists.

http://www.englishonline.pl/index.php

I taught using the Callan method for several years, whilst living in Poland and found it very effective. I suggest you contact the Callan School in London and purchase a copy of the method if you really want to use it.

http://www.callan.co.uk/

Cheers & Merry Christmas


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xxxMark Jones
Local time: 06:47
English
Yes it really works Mar 29, 2007


emoreda wrote:

Have you had any experiences with the Callan method? Does it really work? I've read about it and I find it a bit weird, but some Callan students had told me they have really learnt English this way. This is not a professional question, I'm only curious about it. Thanx!


Yes. It really works. I work in a Callan Method school in London. We are generally very successful at getting students to pass recognised exams such as First Certificate much faster than by traditional communicative methods. The Callan Method claim of learning English in 1/4 of the time has generally been true in our experience.

Try our website for further details at www.englishouse.co.uk or the main Callan Method site at www.callan.co.uk

Mark Jones
Englishouse - School of English
www.englishouse.co.uk


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rkl77
English
Callan Method Apr 12, 2007

In the past there has been alot written for or against the Callan method of teaching english, but to date no one has actually written how it is taught, how the readings, dictations are done, how the questions are asked. I have a copy of the Teacher books from the company i work for but they have no idea how this method is taught other than what they can find off the net. On the Calan website there is mention of a Teacher training book and teacher training DVD. Has anyone used these training material or has anyone done training in the Callan method that would like to inform us as to how this method actually is taught. I know there is a training school both in the UK and Thailand, however I am in neither of those places. Where i am makes it rather hard for me to purchase these materials from the UK, just for self training reasons ... i am sure there must be copies of this material on the web, almost everything else is on the web. I would really like any information on how to teach thi or how this is taught other than the marketing hype on the net, or the "slam-it" comments that have been previously published.

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Arthur Dybowski
Poland
Local time: 07:47
English to French
+ ...
Callan is mainly used in Poland but not fit for Poles... Apr 16, 2007

Hello,
I've been a Callan teacher in Poland for 16 months and I agree with the assets mentioned by everybody on this forum.

Yes, the students hear and repeat many correct structures and sentences during a Callan hour, and acquire helpfull reflexes.

But what I think is wrong is that the method tries to reproduce the miracle of a child learning his mother tongue from nothing. I think a student's first language should be used as a tool to learn the next one.

The Callan method ignores the language reality of a polish speaker. Let me give you two examples:

-Polish has no articles. It requires a lot of efforts for a Pole to learn not to say "Book is on table" and to understand the difference between "a book" and "the book" (articles are terribly hard to handle when you don't have them in your first language)
The Callan method doesn't give any explanation about articles.

-There is no subjunctive verbal mood in Polish.
The method explains how to build your sentence when you need to use the subjunctive, and then concludes saying that the subjunctive doesn't really exist in English.
Could it be any more confusing for a Pole who has never heard of it?

It clearly appears that the method was originally created for italian or french students, but a large majority of the Callan schools in the world are now in Poland.

Of course, the method is also too old. Our students need to acquire simple, efficient communication skills, they don't usually want to become language experts.
So what's the point of teaching "I ought to work" instead of "I should work" and "I shall work" instead of "I will work"?


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zaccariah
Local time: 07:47
English
+ ...
callan - in the kindom of the blind .... Nov 6, 2007

The fact that after over forty years the Callan Method still appeals to so many learners testifies to its own stubborn durability and to the frequent poverty of reliable alternatives that consumers are often faced with.
People seem amazed that Callan can work, based as it is on such outdated and largely discredited theories. But this is part of a widespread mentality that tends to see things in terms of 'good' approaches which can work and 'bad' theories that can't.
However, the fact it can work and can produce impressive results is not the same as saying that it always works: it doesn't. It works well with learners who are naturally able to fill in the many gaps that the Callan method leaves. With 'weak' learners, especially beyond beginner level, it can fail miserably. Unsurprisingly, it also works better with 'good' teachers: 'good' teachers being the ones who bend the very strict rules and inject their own skills, intuition and expertise.
The Callan Method is a product of its age, and since it has never been significantly updated or revised, will ultimately become a victim of its age.


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Leduardo
English
Callan Dec 6, 2007

I really want to learn more about it, I'm from Brazil and I think this method is nice for us.
Can u send me some material about it, teacher books or something?


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