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A. Background
The silent way is the name of method of language teaching devised by Caleb Cattegno. He
used to be involved in a mathematics program and his experience has influenced the method. The
method may not be separated from the use of the rods and words charts with different colors.
Rods are colored wooden or plastic sticks that are thin and straight. They are of varying lengths.
In this method the role of language teacher is realatively less silent so that language learner
are encouraged to be more active in producing as much language leaner as possible. A language
teacher should encourage language learners to take a role in learning activities. The time of
learning teaching interaction should be given to language learners, not to the teacher
The teacher functions as a guide, an organizer, a resource, and evaluator. In the role of guide,
languages teacher guides learner to learn the language units under considerations. The principle of
method are not considered in language learning only but the principles may be applied in learning
in general. Some people think that the aim of this method is not merely to master a foreign
language but also to humanize human beings.
Learning a target language thus goes beyond acquiring new behaviors: it is one more step
towards being a freer person. Language teacher is no longer the one who is responsible for all
teaching activities, rather he/ she/ is the one who motivates language learners to perform their
own activities. The aim of good teaching is to make language learners independent, autonomous
and responsible (Cattegno, 1976:45)
According to Caleb Cattegno are the learners will have:
1. An accent as close as possible to that of natives who are really cultured members of the
country whose language is being studied
2. From the start an ease in conversation related to the vocabularies presented and studied
3. An ease in composition about all topic whose vocabularies have been met
4. An ease at dictation with speeds related to the amount of visual dictation practiced and
difficulties of the text
5. An ability to render appropriate texts of either language into the either (Cattegno,
B. Principles Of Silent Way
The following are some of the principles of the Silent Way regarding to foreign language
1. The work requires language learners to relate the linguistic sign to truth that they perceive
with their sense (Stevick, 1980:7)

2. Language is not learned by repeating after a model. Language learners need to develop
their own inner criteria for correctness (Larsen-Freeman, 1986: 58)
3. Meaning is made clear by focusing learners perceptions, not through translation (LarsenFreeman, 1986: 59)
4. Reading is worked on from the beginning but follows from what language learners
already know (Larsen-Freeman, 1986: 59 and 2000)
C. Basic Assumptions About Language
With regard to the nature of language, the Silent Way has a different point of view from other
contemporary methods
1. Language is seen as groups of sound arbitrarily associated with specific meanings and
organized into sentences or strings of meaningful units by grammar rules (Richards and
Rodgers, 1986: 101)
2. The skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing reinforce one another.
Consequently, language teacher has to consider these four skill in dealing with the
language materials. He/ she may not leave one skill behind the others. Language teacher
is supposed to deal with all four skill when working on each linguistic objective.
3. Language is a substitute for experience. So in this method experience give meaning to the
target language (Richards and Rodgers, 1986: 101 and 2001). Therefore, in learning a
target language, learners should experience using the target language by facing physical
objects that can be assistance in creating experience.
D. Basic Assumption About Language Learning
Besides the assumption about language, it is believed that learning take place more effectively
under certain condition. Therefore, the Silent Way also has come assumption about language
learning. The following are the assumption about language learning
1. The grammar of the target language is learned through largely inductive processes
(Richards and Rodgers, 1986: 101 and 2001) language learners have to find out how the
patterns of the target language work. Language teacher just provides the clues that lead
them to come to a conclusion and he/ she/ does not explain the usage of grammar rules
2. Language is learned logically, expanding, upon what language learners already know. It is
clear that the idea is that language learner are know what they are doing. Language
learners are not only saying something without being aware of what they are saying
3. Learning is facilitated if language learner discover or create rather than remember and
repeat what is to be learned (Richards and Rodgers, 1986: 99 and 2001)
4. Learning is a continuing and living process. It occurs on a continuum and leads towards
mastery. Advocates of this method believe that learning does not occur abruptly and thus
cannot be evaluated immediately