What is Your Callan Method?

I’ve worked at a couple of different Callan schools and to tell you the truth(imho) I think the method is great up until about the 4th or 5th stage and then I think more needs to be incorporated, grammar lessons, conversation activities and the like.

Anyways…my question is…

What is your plan of attack?

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Last 10 from first hour revised again
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First 50 min

10 revision
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First 50 min

10 revision
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Also, is there a chart somewhere that has the specifics, such as what you should be reading and which dictation you should be doing based on what paragraphs you’re revising?

I’m sure I’ve seem one in one of the schools I’ve worked in but the school I’m in now can’t seem to locate this chart.

Hi Doug,

How did you get started with Callan Method? I know that’s very popular in Poland while almost nobody is interested in teaching Callan style ihere in Germany or any other country for that matter. What do you think is the reason for that?

Many thanks,

TOEIC listening, question-response: Who’s Jean Carrier’s supervisor?[YSaerTTEW443543]


Actually Callan was what got me into teaching. I’m a salesman by trade from the US and when I came here and decided to stay and teach I needed a way to ‘break into’ it and learn ‘how’ to teach.

I did some reading up on it and being also someone who studies the brain and how it works thought it to be a pretty straight forward method.

Since then I’ve found and discovered that society as a whole has changed and thus it doesn’t work as well ‘right out of the box’. It needs some help, if you will. The method being designed 50+ years ago worked well… in my opinion. But, with all the junk in today’s world that people have to focus on in everyday life there ‘brains’ aren’t what they used to be… relaxed. So, they don’t absorb the information as well.

I’ve taught for 5years now many different ways and learned quite a bit. To be honest, in high school English was my worst subject. My English teacher is rolling in her grave. lol.

Callan is good up until about the 5th stage. It’s a great way to start learning basic vocab and building confidence in speaking, but after the 5th or maybe 6th stage I think people should switch over to a book method and learn some grammar and sentence structure.

You mentioned using it in German. The school I’m at now uses both English and German Callan and it appears to work well. They’ve added grammar exercises and sentence building worksheets into the mix and do switch people over at stage 5 or 6, depending on what the student wants. It must be working because they have something like 17+ schools throughout Poland and are opening more all the time. Leaderschool.

Hi Doug,

Thanks a lot for sharing your Callan teaching experiences with me. It’s interesting that you say people today have more difficulty absorbing information than they used to decades before. Why do you think is this? I mean with all the tools available today shouldn’t it be easier for us to learn and share our ideas?

As for Callan, the system certainly contains some sound suggestions but I don’t think it will ever get widespread in any country other than Poland. Actually, I doubt it’s ‘widespread’ in Poland. There might be a few schools using the method while the vast majority either don’t know anything about it or won’t adapt for several reasons.

By the way, where in Poland do you live?
Talk to you soon,

TOEIC listening, question-response: How many years have you been with the firm?[YSaerTTEW443543]

I have been teaching English to non-native speakers, on and off, since 1975. 2 years ago I came across the Callan method, took the course in London and soon started teaching FREE at home to get some experience. after a month I began charging. I now have a thriving, successful school, and 2000 hours of experience. IMHO one cannot mix Callan and other methods. There are massive advantages in speed of learning, usefulness of the language and retention. I do believe that after book 4 (stage 8) there are few advantages in the Callan method and perhaps other methods are just as effective. There are over 200 Callan schools in Poland and it is regarded almost as a brand-name in English schools. There are very good reasons for the effectivity of the method which lie in ‘Learning / Memory / Forgetting / Neuro Linguistics / Psychology’ etc. To begin judging the system, without really investigating it, seems pointless. The school in London never advertises and yet there are thousands of students there every week…must be something in the water.

Pros and cons of the Callan Method.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC short conversations: Fax problems[YSaerTTEW443543]

So many ways to respond to your audio…I agree with some of the things you said although it takes me back to the basics of what people are wanting to learn…communication. You are correct, there are so many things available today that it can almost be too overwhelming and give people ‘too big’ of choice… Our goal is to communicate, not to learn how many ways we can learn a language. Then again, with technology, “the way” we learn is changing…

I’ll try to respond with an audio in the next couple of days…


The advantages of the Callan Method.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening lectures: A lecture from a history class[YSaerTTEW443543]

Just listened to your message and would love to respond with that audio…although I can’t seem to figure out how…

Hi Doug, please read this as it explains how to record a voice message: english-test.net/community/3 … o_messages[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening lectures: In October of which year did Vaudeville officially appear?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi everyone,

I’ve just found out that now there is also a Callan school in Leipzig: speak-quick.de/index.html[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, talks: A traffic report is being given on the radio[YSaerTTEW443543]

My first ESL job was using Callan method at a school in Poland. I didn’t like it because I felt it created far too many mistakes. I saw so many students with ingrained errors that could take years to help them overcome. Callan, Berlitz, and Inlingua all use a purely communicative method. It is useful for helping learners develop an inventory of words and forms. However, it ignores that fact that almost all 2nd Language Acquisition research shows that adult learners do not acquire an understanding of grammar without instruction of it like young children do.

I find it amazing that people comment on the Callan method without having used it or (apparantly) asking students of the method what THEY think. There are over 100 Callan Schools in Poland. It has been widespread in Brazil, Spain and Italy and, of course, England. The Callan School itself is in Oxford street in London and has over 1500 students a week attanding. They have been going since 1960. No advertising/promotion.This means primarily word of mouth.
Book 3 is almost entirely grammer - so it is dealt with. I am a qualified teacher with a B.Ed. CELTA and I run a Callan school. At the end of book 4 I transfer to more traditional forms of teaching.
In my experience, teaching the method is hard work but a definite, measurable progress is made. There are some students who find the method unsuitable, although very few. There are some modern concepts missing; e.g. internet, mobiles, playstations, Eurostar, swineflue etc. I have written additional material which fills these gaps. There are some language forms not in common useage, (“have”) but I find that keeping each useage simple and adding other forms when the first is learnt is clearer to the student.
The books are brilliant in their structure of introducing foundations and building upon those in vocabulary, form and content.
No I do not work for Callan and have a range of criticisms. At least I am speaking from experience, not from hearsay.
I would love a debate from within, Callan teachers being honest about their experiences.

Hi all,

I really enjoyed reading your comments and thoughts on the Callan method. I would agree with most of you on the advantages and the drawbacks of the method.
I used to teach Callan in Poland in different Callan schools (1 year), then I was giving private Callan lessons in Ireland (my students were Polish).
Most of the feedback I’m getting from the students is very positive. They enjoy a lot the fact that they can speak up and thus become more confident. It’s true that the method has its greatest impact/results on beginner/pre-intermediate/intermediate levels.
You often say that the method doesn’t require much preparation for the teacher. It’s true and I think it’s one of its greatest advantages comparing to the traditional methods where you spend hours and hours to plan your lesson. However, this is the case for the teachers who know the method very well and who had invested quite a lot of time in learning the method and becoming efficient.
Unfortunately, I saw many poor Callan teachers in Poland, making pronunciation errors and not correcting the students. I still remember the case of a Stage 9 student who was not able to use correctly The Present Simple Tense (sic!). This should never be the case.
I also think that the method is not suitable for every teacher. All the teachers can use the traditional ESL methods, not all of them can use Callan. Callan requires a high level of energy, fluency and concentration from the teacher in order to make the lesson interesting and challenging.
I’m preparing right now my CELT (in Ireland) to become a fully qualified teacher and I’m thinking of opening a Callan school in France. To my great surprise, I cannot find any Callan schools in France? Can you tell me why this is so? Why isn’t Callan popular in countries like Germany or France?

Hi, what do you make of this: grammer vs. grammar? As for the Callan Method, I don’t think anyone needs any particular ‘method’ to learn English. What you really need is the willingness to change your habits. A language is a like a sport: Only if you practice it on a regular basis do you have a chance to master it. Now, does the Callan Method ‘teach’ its users this basic and vital element? The Callan Method primarily works in countries where people are either not used to able to think of their own. If a person has access to authentic media content in English they can learn English because any person has the most brilliantly designed and effective language learning system within themselves. No need to use any additional external learning systems. Make sure you get constant exposure to the language and your subconscious will pick it up. Trust yourself and don’t try to rely on teachers. The Callan Method is good for people who can’t muster the self-discipline to expose themselves to useful and authentic content.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between a student and a campus patrolman[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten. I took a Celta course in July 2009 and it opened my eyes to aspects of language teaching.

  1. Most adults want some quick solutions (often confidence and fluency, albeit basic.)
  2. Most people are lazy and few will do homework / homestudy.
  3. We learn our own language in the sequence: Listen, speak,read and write.
    The Callan Method satisfies the above.
    Most peoplet are unwilling / unable to change.
    A language is like a sport - yes! This method by repetion of words phrases and concepts is highly efficient at teaching students to practice, however; I now inform my students they ‘must do homework.’
    If they attend 5 days a week it is not necessary, but only 2 days a week, then it is .
    BTW I learnt a language to a high level of fluency and with a very large vocabulary, without ant lessons.
    I have few regrets, and this is one, why on earth didn’t I take the free lessons offered me and save myself years of hard work.
    I agree with almost everything you say, I am simply more sceptical of human nature.
    I have a library of books my students can borrow and I encourage them to listen to radio / TV, read everything they can find. I personaly began by reading all the street signs and adverts and watching childrens TV.

Hi Inteach,

I read your answer and couldn’t agree more.
This is my experience, too- most of people need a course and a teacher, they seek to get quickly some results, they don’t want to do too much homework, in general- they don’t have time! Additional learning resources such as TV, radio, Internet, books are of a great benefit but still remain additional to the course.

Now, going back to my project of starting a Callan school in France.
Here is the answer I got from callan.co.uk to my question “Why are there no Callan schools in France?”

“Hello Maria,
Thank you for your email and your interest in the Callan Method. I am sending you an attachment of our Terms and Conditions as this includes a list of our products and prices and information on how to pay for our goods. Its unfortunate that there are less schools in France than Poland, however we are happy to help with information if you wish to set up a school of your own.”

And in the attachment I can only see the list of books I need to buy ;-).
No comment!

I agree with you – most adults want quick solutions and that’s the main reason why most adults are unhappy with the progress they are making (or rather not making) in English language classes.

That’s not exactly true. I think most people don’t understand that it is almost impossible to learn a second a language in a classroom. Nobody ever tells them that they can learn English only if they expose themselves to the language on a daily basis when they are at home, at work, in their cars, in public transport, on holiday, in the cinema, etc. Doing traditional homework will only frustrate most adults and make them give up learning English rather sooner than later.

That’s right. However, you need to emphasize the fact that it is possible to learn to speak English by listening to correct English phrases and imitating native speakers. You don’t necessarily need to read and write and every single word or phrase you hear and speak. That’s how native speakers learn English: At the age of 5 to 6 they master about 80% of the English grammar having acquired a huge active vocabulary without being able to read and write.

If a person is unable or unwilling to change even the Callan Method won’t help them. What the vast majority of all English learners don’t know and/or understand is that they already have the best learning system inside them. If they spend money on language courses it’s primarily because this financial commitment helps them improve their self-discipline. It’s the same principle fitness clubs operate on. There isn’t any exercise you can do in a gym that you can’t do on your own at home. Most people acknowledge this but nevertheless they sign up for long term memberships in fitness clubs. They know that they that if they are in a room with other people they are more likely to work out than if they were at home on their own. In addition they put themselves under a certain level of psychological pressure by paying the monthly membership fee. That’s exactly how any language school works no matter if it’s the Callan Method, the Berlitz Method, the unique Wallstreet Institute Method or the Linguarama Method.

As you say, it’s just human nature.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Examining lab samples[YSaerTTEW443543]

I do think that a good “Direct Method” teacher can instill a degree of self discipline in the students. Callan is one of the Direct Method teaching systems. I emigrated to Denmark many years ago and submerged myself in the language and culture. After 10 years I could speak fluently and extensively in the language with barely a discernable accent, (sometimes they thought I was of Swedish extraction.) I never took a single lesson. It makes it easier for me to recognise the stages my students go through.
I think most ‘Callan’ teachers follow the process closely and perhaps do not work on the motivation and discipline side.
France. Mmm, not sure if the Psychology of the French lends itself to the Direct Method.
Mariados, where did you do your training? In Oxford Street?
That’s where I did mine and I found the post course support flimsy at best. That is why I am here on this Forum.
Callan teachers do not seem to have a specific forum.
I started my own school from nothing.
Following the course I gave away 30 hours of free lessons to get some experience, (3 groups of 10 hours each.)
As soon as I asked for money, the students all disappeared. Was I that bad??
A lucky coincidence was the opening af a new Polish shop which carried my poster for 3 months without charge.
That started the ball rolling. 30 months later, I turn students away.
All you can do is start a school and see what happens.
Good Luck.