Anybody can learn a language
I came across an interesting article on Michel Thomas and his methods for teaching languages in the Guardian today.
Thomas believed that “there was no such thing as a bad student, only a bad teacher” and that with the right teaching method, anybody can learn a language quickly and easily. However was very reluctant to explain his teaching methods with others. He believed that people would only take parts of his ideas if he shared them, which would dilute them and make them much less effective. It was only in the 1990s that Thomas was persuaded to record language lessons by Hodder Education.
In a new book, The Language Revolution, by Jonathan Solity, an educational psychologist, discusses how Thomas taught languages and the psychological prinples that underpin his methods. Solity believes that if such methods were adopted in schools, they could made a huge difference.
The article mentions some of Thomas’ methods, which include breaking down languages and explaining how they work in easy-to-understand ways; teaching relatively small amounts of material at any one time; and going over things until the students really understand them and can use them. There is also a link to a BBC documentary about Michel Thomas on YouTube.
Have you tried any Michel Thomas language courses? How effective have they been?
I haven’t tried any yet, but am thinking of having a go at the Russian course.