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With authorisation from Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc., we have revised Gattegno's Silent Way charts for French.
The new Rectangle chart and Fidel (Spelling chart) are designed specifically for foreign language learners. As can be seen in the pictures below, the two types of chart are laid out with the same placement of sounds (red /i/ in the top left, for example). The layout reflects the tongue position and the positions of other articulators used in production.
(Click the pictures to enlarge them.)
There are 3 sizes of letters on the Fidel. The largest indicate the most characteristic spellings for each sound. The medium size letters indicate other spellings in common use, especially for verbs. The smallest size is used for uncommon spellings.
The Fidel comes with a key giving examples of all the sound-spelling combinations of French.
When French speakers write, they maintain two dialogues within themselves. They think about the content of what they write, but they must also constantly think about the grammatical agreement of the words while writing. Those agreements that can be heard—nous with -ons, for example—are not a problem. It is those that are not audible that require constant vigilance. This Fidel helps students to create this second dialogue.
Below the consonants, on the left, there are the <s> and <x> of the plurals of the determiners, nouns and adjectives. On the right, there are the inaudible endings <e>, <es> and <ent>, which are used for all the verbs of the first group in the present indicative, and some other verbs, as well as the present subjunctive. There are also <s> and <t> for the other groups and <x> for pouvoir and vouloir. The Fidel is designed for students to point phrases and short sentences to develop this dialogue.
This Fidel differs from the traditional Fidel which obeys the rule that one touch of the pointer triggers one sound.
The new Word charts follow Gattegno's gradual unfolding of the language for beginners. The choice of words and the order in which they appear have been improved by a team of experienced Silent Way teachers.
Charts 1-4 introduce the functional vocabulary of French. Notice that combining forms are marked with a dot (e.g. mienne is constructed on chart 4 as 'm·' + '·ienne').
Charts 5-8 are designed for work on verbs.
The final Word charts cover numbers, the calendar, the time, and expression of time; as well as some common nouns.
The Verb chart shows all the forms that French verbs can take. This synthesis of stems and endings helps students, both non-French and French-speaking, to develop a sense of how conjugation functions in the language.
When students come across a new verb, they can be asked to look for which of the verbs on the chart is likely to be the model for its conjugation. The students will be able to explore the system and discover its regularities and exceptions. As with the Fidel, the fact that the complete task is visible sets a reassuring boundary: "all this; but no more."
For more information, click here.
Sets are available in 3 sizes for classroom teaching: A2 (each individual Word chart about 59 x 42 cm), A3 (each chart about 42 x 30 cm) and A4 (each chart about 30 x 21 cm). They also exist on A4 cards for individual study. All sets come with a full set of keys. Please see here for pricing details.
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If you are looking for reliable information about the Silent Way, we recommend Roslyn's website, which has articles in English and French.
The new French Silent Way charts were designed in collaboration with Cédric Lefebvre, Véronique Léval and Ben Renggli.
Note that Cuisenaire rods and Gattegno's wall pictures for the Silent Way can be purchased through The Cuisenaire Company.