The Callan Method books are full of questions. Each question practises a word, an expression, or a piece of grammar. When you finish answering one question, the teacher immediately starts to ask the next one.
This way, you have another chance to listen if you didn't understand everything the first time. After asking the question, the teacher immediately says the beginning of the answer and invites you to join in. This is to help you to start speaking immediately - without thinking.
We call this technique “Pushing.” Imagine learning to ride a bicycle: you have to pedal by yourself, but the teacher gently pushes the bike and helps you keep your balance.
This is because, in the real world, it’s natural to speak quickly. To understand normal spoken language, you must practise listening to quick, natural speech.
When you learn to cope with fast speech in the safe, supportive environment of the Callan classroom, you'll be prepared for any real-life interaction. No more panicky "I'm not ready for this" feelings when speaking to foreigners - you've got it!
You practise speaking as much as possible, so you always make complete sentences during the lesson, using the same grammatical structure as in the question. For example:
Q: About how many pages are there in this book?
A: There are about two hundred pages in this book. (rather than “Two hundred.”)
This way, you’re not just answering a question; you are making full sentences using the vocabulary and the grammar that you want to learn.
The teacher will speak together with you all the time while you're saying the answer. This way, if you forget a word or you are not sure how to answer, you will always hear the next word or two from the teacher. When that happens, you should repeat after the teacher, and then immediately try again to continue with the answer yourself.
Always try to continue speaking by yourself. Copy after the teacher only when you can't continue alone. Don't simply wait for help - take matters into your own hands and see how quickly you will improve!
The teacher will stop you when you make a mistake. We find that correction works better when it’s immediate. It helps you identify the mistake and develop a habit of not making it again.
When the teacher notices a mistake, they will copy it and then say the correct pronunciation / form.
Why? Correction by imitation helps clearly hear the difference between the mistake and the correct form. This is especially important for pronunciation, as sometimes it's hard to hear subtle differences between sounds in a foreign language.
What should you do? repeat the correct word and simply continue with your sentence.
S: He come from Spain.
T: Not come – comes.
S: He comes from Spain.
Many people spend years mispronouncing things or making the same grammatical error again and again without realising. Callan aims to protect you from this awkward "I've been saying it wrong this whole time?" feeling.
The quick pace of the lesson won’t allow you to stop and think a lot about the grammar while you’re speaking. You’ll be learning to speak as a reflex, instinctively. Don't worry about mistakes! The teacher will help you correct them.
Part of what makes Callan special and effective is that it’s predictable. Every lesson follows the same pattern, so you always know what to expect and where you are with your progress.
you repeat questions and answers that you learned during previous lessons.
the teacher explains new words and grammar, and introduces new questions and answers.
in this part you read some pages from the book out loud while of the teacher helps you and corrects any mistakes.
You should never feel lost, or unsure as to what you're learning in Callan. If in doubt, just check the book - it's all there, and every word is there for a reason!
We do plenty of speaking practice, but it’s not free conversation. We use all the time available in the lesson to practice the vocabulary and structures you’re learning. You are constantly challenged to learn new language or remember language you’ve learned before – even if you’re not yet comfortable using it.
When chatting, students typically use language they already know well and feel confident using. You can do this after the lesson!
When you practise understanding quick speech, and speaking quickly, you develop the ability to do so without translating to and from your native language. You start thinking in the target language, which is a prerequisite to becoming fluent.
Almost every word that is said during the lesson serves a purpose. Every minute is spent learning. This means we can keep the lessons short, and you still leave them with improved skills. It's quality over quantity in Callan!
When learning a foreign language, you need to see, hear and use new words and grammatical structures multiple times before you learn them for good. This means a system of revision is absolutely essential – without it, you will forget too much of what you’ve learned and your speaking and listening skills just won’t improve.
In every Callan Method lesson, you do revision of what you learned in previous lessons before moving on to new material. The ratio of Revision to New Work is about 80:20. One result of all this revising is that you do not need to understand everything the first time. You work it out naturally as you repeat sentences lesson after lesson, until everything becomes clear.
Callan courses* are built to take you from complete beginner to upper-intermediate in a series of segments called Stages. Each lesson builds on the skills acquired in the previous lesson, and each Stage builds on the previous Stages. Vocabulary and grammar are introduced in carefully planned order, and everything fits together to form a recipe for confident, fluent speech in the target language.
*Except the Business English course, which is a module written for more advanced ESL students.
We've planned the route for you, so you don't have to spend time managing your course. Just relax, sit back, and enjoy the ride. You'll be speaking your target language confidently before you know it!
During your first lessons, all the sentences and some of the vocabulary are new to you. You aren’t used to the way we answer the questions, to speaking at the same time as the teacher, or to our method of error correction. That’s okay! The teacher will patiently offer you as much help as you need. After just a few lessons, you will get used to it and notice how your skills are improving.Give it a try