The Callan method and LingQ

I have been discussing the Callan method on my blog. Apparently it is quite popular with some learners. I am sure that some degree of repetitive drilling of troublesome points of usage is effective. The problem I have with the system is that it is up to the teacher to decide what to teach. I always feel that the learn should discover the language, choose what to listen to and read, and find the words and phrases that he or she needs. I always resisted the teacher deciding what to spend an hour on (parts of the body or the subjunctive or whatever).

Perhaps a compromise would be for our tutors to use the words and phrases that the learner has trouble with, and which are written up in the discussion report, or in the writing report, and then drill the learner on these in a separate one on one discussion. The tutor would ask questions that would require the learner to answer using the words or phrases that had caused trouble in a previous discussion or writing assignment. The exchange would be fast, with short questions and short answers. The tutor and the learner would try to repeat many of the same words in the questions and answers.

I would like to try that for Russian or German to drill the areas where I make mistakes. What do others think?

I left my comment on your blog yesterday. Please bear in mind that leaving comments on your blog in English is my challenge as a English learner. After I left my comment every time, I’m looking forward to reading your response to my comment. I know that many of Japanese LingQ members or your blog readers read your blog, but everytime few Japanese leave their comment. They hesitate to write something in English. I know my English is not perfect, and my comment sometimes disagree with your opinion, but even your short response to my commnet on your blog encourage me to use English.
I’m a impatient person. It causes some trouble online, though. Please leave any response to my comment on your blog. Thanks.


I thought I had left a comment, but perhaps something happened at Typepad. What I said was that I would like to hear from people who are using this website. I asked if you knew the names of blogs where it is being discussed. I also said that I went to the link you left and read the information. I listened to the video. The Japanese student spoke better than the Filipina teacher.

I have now put this comment up on the blog as well.

Hi. This is a very interesting topic because I was a student in their London school for about 6 months.What’s more? I really liked it!

I don’t know how they do it online, but in a real class room situation, it creates such intensity and no time wasted like other ordinary schools.
That’s why I liked it. Also, it does not depend on each teacher’s ability because basically, they read questions like a robot. Then again, no disappointment for not having a good teacher.
Above all, Callan is the school for people who want to learn English in really intensive-though tiring- way. Not for everyone but it worked for me. In my London days, I had to work while going to school to make ends meet so it was good that I only had to spend 1- 2 hours at school instead of 5 hours like other schools.

From my resarch on the web it appears that many people find these types of classes fun and useful. I would like to learn more about what goes on in a Callan class but I can see the benefit of combining this kind of focused drill with LingQ.

The benefits that I can see are:

  1. the learner is forced to speak , there is no room for shyness
  2. the learner does not have to think of what to say, simply picking up on what the tutor says using the same words.
  3. lots of repetition
  4. a high tempo

I think this would be especially useful for focusing on problem areas. I can see this for my Russian for dealing with verbs of motion, or cases, or verb aspects etc. It can also be helpful for pronunciation although I am less convinced of that. I do not think this system is as effective as LingQ for vocabulary growth, and on its own I think that for some people it might take the fun out of language exploration. But combined with LingQ it might be an effective choice for some learners.

We could call this “focus drill” or something and do it in one on one discussions, and probably only for beginner and intermediate learners.

I would like the learner to be in charge,not the tutor. Therefore we would ask the learner to submit a list of his or her “problem” LingQs to the tutor. The learner can tag words or phrases that cause difficulty and email these tagged lists to the tutor. Another way would be for the learner to email a discussion report or writing report to the tutor. If it is the same tutor who did the report the tutor already has these reports.

The tutor would then ask questions in a high tempo using many of the words and language patterns on these lists. The tutor would aggressively correct mistakes and repeat the questions with some slight variation.

At any rate, I offer this as an idea and would appreciate feedback and ideas, especially from people like Hitomi who have used this method