Embracing the Joys and Challenges of the Silent Way: Beginning our Language Learning Journey at Les Cedres in Massy, France

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Attending Les Cedres, a Christian language school in Massy, France, has been a wonderful experience so far. The school has such an exceptional staff and an amazing community of students, all dedicated to learning and growing together (and praying for one another and worshiping together).

One of the unique aspects of our learning experience at Les Cedres is the Silent Way language learning method.

The Silent Way method utilizes a color-coded system of phonology and incorporates the use of "reglettes" (Cuisenaire rods) for language learning activities. This hands-on approach to language learning allows students to engage with the material in a visual and tactile way, making the learning process more interactive and engaging. The use of color-coded cues helps reinforce pronunciation and grammar concepts, making it easier for students to grasp and retain new language skills. (Even the songs on the screen at Chapel time have color-coded words!)

One of the major pros of the Silent Way method is its emphasis on developing a great French accent. By focusing on phonology and pronunciation from the beginning, students are able to develop a more authentic and natural French accent, which is essential for effective communication in the language. The hands-on nature of the method also helps students develop a deeper understanding of the language structure and grammar rules.

However, one potential con of the Silent Way method is the lack of exposure to hearing native French speakers regularly. While the method focuses on pronunciation and phonology, students may not have as many opportunities to practice listening to and conversing with native speakers, which is crucial for language fluency and comprehension. In order to overcome this limitation, it may be helpful for students to seek out additional opportunities for language practice outside of the classroom, such as language exchanges or conversation groups (which is quite challenging when you are in class from 8:30a-4:15p every day, school pickup, dinners, homework, administrative tasks, and so on).

Overall, our experience with the Silent Way method at Les Cedres has been positive and enriching. The unique approach to language learning has allowed us to develop a strong foundation in French language skills, with a focus on pronunciation and accent. While there are some limitations to the method, such as limited exposure to native speakers, the benefits of developing a great accent and deep understanding of language structure make it a valuable and effective tool for language acquisition. We are grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow at Les Cedres and look forward to continuing our language journey with this innovative and immersive learning method.

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