Meet Miss Mason and François(2)

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François opened language schools where people learned languages using these sets, which he called  “Gouin series.” His students learned to think and speak about all of life in other languages. Miss Mason used his method and had such success that many students were soon learning more than three languages at a time—and they were only studying each one for twenty to forty minutes two or three times a week.

 

Gouin saw that it is hard to remember lists, but easy to remember how to do things in a logical order. That is why in our volumes we are not learning lists of things in another language, but rather we are learning how to do things in another language. The first thing you learn in a Gouin series are the verbs.  Miss Mason called verbs the “king words.” Why? You cannot have a sentence without verbs. Repeat the verbs slowly until you know them, then learn the rest of the sentence. To speak foreign languages with others, you need to know verbs.

 

I studied German when I was young. My mother used to tell me that I would know German when I could think it—or, better yet, dream in it. To help you think in the language of your choice, our volumes contains Gouin series about the everyday things you do.  Most likely these are things you wouldn’t say in your own tongue, e.g., “I take a book, I open the book, I close the book.” But when you first learned to speak, you probably did narrate your actions, e.g., “I open the book! I’m reading it!” or “Watch me Mom! I kick the ball!”  Narrating what you do creates new connections in your brain; when you narrate the Gouin series you are making connections in a new language.

 

When you truly know something, you are able to remember it. Miss Mason knew that the best way for you to remember something was to narrate it back to someone—your teachers, mother, friends, etc.  Something about hearing or reading and then telling it back helps your mind retain knowledge. Modern science shows that Miss Mason was right.  We know now that we tend to remember only 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, and 30% of what we see. But if we both see and hear it, we remember 40%; if we discuss it, we remember 50% of it; if we teach it, we remember 90% of it. In a sense, narrating is teaching, because you are telling someone else “the story.”

 

Miss Mason knew, though, that we need good stories to narrate. You’ve probably read a fabulous book and told friends about it without having to refer to the book. Why? Good stories have a flow to them; they have a beginning, middle, and end or what we call a “narrative form.” Stories we can’t wait to tell, Miss Mason called “living” ones.  Gouin series, too, take a narrative form; living series should be easy to narrate.  In this method you learn each series in your own language and act it out. That way when you start learning the new language you know what you are saying and your mind translates each action into the new language. The words do not translate exactly, but the ideas do. The series teach the idea in a new language of opening the door or packing your backpack and so on.

 

Allyson D. Adrian, PhD

AKA “Dr. A”

http://cherrydalepress.com/

(Die deutsche Übersetzung ist demnächst hier  verfügbar

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