Michel Thomas : THE LANGUAGE MASTER

This reminds me of my own classrooms as the as a child there's a youngster in high school and it was always under stress I'm comfortable on it you associate learning with with work with concentration of paying attention but homework it's all work work but learning shouldn't be work learning should be excitement learning should be pleasure in concert experience a constant sense of progression and learning and when what want more that is learning to me and a teacher. This is somebody who will facilitate and show how to learn every kid that likes baseball knows every batting average of every ballplayer and every statistic you just know it effortlessly without putting in any effort.

It was with learning with Michelle you know it was it was effortless Michelle is a mentor he is a person who believes as the teacher that he has the responsibility for your learning I said to Michelle Michelle either you're the biggest fraud that has ever walked the face of the earth or alternatively you are someone who has been associated with more miracles than anyone I have ever known he is a one-man language industry but all he is concerned with is the art of communication to those that have learnt with him Michelle Thomas is the greatest teacher in the world he runs a small number of highly exclusive language schools in the United States but what goes on in their classrooms is a closely guarded secret he claims to have completely removed the effort from learning no reading writing or any form of homework just listening and talking years of work apparently reduced to just days and after teaching for over 50 years he now has a very select group of clients Michelle claimed that he could teach me French you know over a weekend three days or.

And I thought you know why not this was years ago it was a very nominal fee and said what if I got to lose you know if the guy's crazy and I lose a couple hundred bucks you know or it's some kind of miracle.

I gave it a try and he was you know amazing michelle has agreed to come to london to the city in Islington six form Center to demonstrate for the first time ever the techniques he uses to produce his apparently miraculous results he promises that with his method of teaching even the most ordinary student can acquire in just days a depth of knowledge of a language that would normally take years to learn checking up on what michelle manages to achieve will be head of french at the school Margaret Thompson languages yes and I think it requires quite a lot of things like attention to detail that kids really don't want to be bothered with languages and I'm talking more now about we are languages generally the way they're taught at the moment require a lot of hard graft and a lot of attention to detail a lot of repetition a lot of things that students find boring Michelle doesn't believe in the concept of an aptitude for learning or being a good student only good and bad teaching but the pupils he has been given who all volunteered for this experiment would by most standards be classed as academically very average what they've been promised is five solid days with Michelle in the classroom and the most astonishing educational experience of their lives I'm very pleased to meet you and I'm looking forward to teaching you today but under better physical conditions because I don't think that where you're sitting is very comfortable I would like you to feel comfortable.

We're going to rearrange everything as there is no reading or writing in his lessons there's no need for desks or a blackboard for Michelle no one can really learn unless anything that causes stress is removed from the experience it's the driving force that informs every aspect of his teaching before before starting I'm going to set up a very important rule a very important ground rule and that rule is for you never to worry about remembering never to worry about remembering anything and therefore not to try never to try to remember anything from one moment to the next. This is a method with the responsibility for your remembering and for learning this new teaching.

If at any point there's something you don't remember. This is not your problem it will be up to me to know why you don't remember individually and what to do about it all these students are doing vocational qualifications because they don't like exams paula has studied some Italian before but is completely new to French darman de failed his Spanish GCSE he has never studied French before today Abdul tried German but failed his GCSE late last year and Anthony tried French for just a few years before giving up Maria and satvinder have both tried and failed their French GCSEs and Emilie was told by her French teacher at school to give up because she had no talent for languages whatsoever words in English ending in a ble like possible and in a ble that table all come from friends and are the same they're the same spelling the same meaning except for the pronunciation from pronunciation I be earlier in France France EEP like possible would be perceived and a ble because Letta ate this plant start a bee response table that table would be probably acceptable would be except yes except table yes and comfortable with being comfort comfort right sit again comfort comfort our table have you ever heard the expression see La Vie no se means it is dispelled see ' est say means it is how you spell saying they see apostrophe apostrophe s see ' est but what see apostrophe s they read what was table tab comfortable comfort comfortable it is comfortable take they say it again it is no one sport it is second factor.

On what it is they take comfort ah yes well dissect everything is into small parts and reassemble it in such a way that one will understand everything step by step that understanding to learn and to know how to apply it in a practical way in putting it into into sentences and more and more complex sentences and expressing one's own thoughts and not in memorize phrases that is important will you speak French with me will he do well right no fool I can do whoa. Okay, okay will you write speak French parle francais with me four more no I'm sorry avec ma I think how do you say will you go eat with me you leave you will leave ooh right go haleh eat Marseille with me how that one right learning has to be knowledge learning has to be based on understanding and what you understand you can absorb internalize and becomes knowledge what you know you don't forget you can block something but you know but not forget words in English ending an ENT and a NT come from French and they're the same int + int is Bronx down at the end like restaurant would be a store on you do not sound the team.

Again what is for this restaurant you always stress the ending softly French ears are tuned into endings.

How would you say restaurant only that's what I want you to do this dress should be on the ending not on nothing less though yes.

Always pick the ending yes let's go home a little bit then make it better restaurant yes restaurant mr. Wong Margaret would like to get into the classroom to see Michelle at work. Okay, it is very important for you when you work out not to practice not to try to remember not to review mentally and not to test yourself and say now let me see what I can remember it's very important to leave it alone s'il vous plait.

Once more not.

Fast please would be.

Fast CB CB CB z beat by passive it simply transport force to speak politely you speak Upali you speak too fast for me oh yes oh that you just said you speak too much no too fast speak too fast Bhopal 800 feet per pallet of it come what will you what do you want voulez-vous whisper voulez-vous the anything well it's cause you would is that right very good how would you say you want thank you googling to begin to start or to commence is come on say anything we are you start you're starting ending mm-hmm do you start where you're starting question mark come on save you come on save or ending said what's more said come on say who the commander come on say and ending come on say you said - vo us it's been nine solid hours of lessons with just one short break for lunch they can expect exactly the same over the next four days something like he explained something like what was he a verb. Okay, a school who were taught about wasn't doing weird right to him it's not a doing word it's the word you know yeah it's tyria ste ii had you know then you know that it's a verb after two after the word to you.

I have to i just kept to like thinking of words which i wasn't meant to.

Full of laughs and not think of it in case when it comes to monday he's gonna know seems to convene people's minds when he can you can't read everyone's mind and he starts saying things like don't people words from the way you know from from whatever from the wave and everything and you just tell yourself no he knows what I'm gonna say next do you know like what he talks to you and ask your questions that he's looking into you and like those what you're thinking is sad you know it is almost technically impossible to lie to Michele Thomas he may not detect what the truth is but he will know when he's not being given it Michelle Thomas learned his skills as a communicator during the Second World War which was one of the most remarkable periods of his life he extracted a great deal of information from former SS and ver marked officers and was responsible for securing some top-secret German documents which were invaluable at the subsequent trials death sentences at Bethel the Nazi killers of mathausen concentration camp taken concurring sentences you to death by bringing that such time and place as her authority major a Michele had first-hand experience of fascism growing up in Germany and he escaped to France at the start of the war he fought with the French Resistance but with the liberation of France in 1944 he joined the American army counterintelligence Corps his knowledge of at least seven languages meant to move into interrogation he became well known for his ability to extract information from the most difficult prisoners without resorting to violence in April 1945 he recorded his experience of liberating the concentration camp at Dachau his job was there was to extract from the head of the crematorium exact details of the atrocities committed at the camp what we fought against during World War two the evils report against was defeated at least temporarily defeated or militarily defeated if not more than that but with not only fought against something against the evil but we fought for dignity for freedom of for freedom of all of it meaning for a solid healthy sense of democracy and free society and I felt that that can only be achieved and maintained through good strong education through a good strong educational system because without it one will always be vulnerable to any attack to be swept away like what happened 60 years ago whatever within a few years of the end of the war Thomas left for the United States and began a very successful career as a teacher to the Stars my place became a place for actors actors producers directors writers who is who in Hollywood Michelle Thomas was a man who taught Grace Kelly French and the French director Francois Truffaut came to Hollywood to learn English it costs ten thousand pounds one on one and movie stars were the guinea pigs for his techniques he worked with Yves Montag on the set of let's make love he won't had no background in his own language in France because as he told me he grew up in in the slums of Marseille and had very poor educational background and had no idea about French grammar yes and he all he boy was able to he thought he knew what the present tenses and the future tense and the past tense because he associated Pleasant with now whatever happens now is in the present and whatever happens tomorrow is the future and whatever happened yesterday is the past I couldn't get out of the simple tenses into other tenses and the only way I was able to do it by associating each tense with a different motion different movement and now he could react in French and in English to those different movements yes and. This is how he was able to learn how to use structure and tense and all the tenses in the in French and at the same time in English right Basque yes.

Once more because task Basque sleep ah it is not pas not all those movements only happen they're beginning to lead them into it and that all stops because it is important to be not to be dependent on movement or the or dependent on any teacher in town how long can you stay yes come be in the town can you can you write stay here right Michelle went into this language drew out of it it's essential components and their relationship to each other in some kind of way that allowed him to simplify the whole thing and then an ability to put it back all together again in a way that allowed others to enter the language I felt that if the structure of educational interaction between the teacher and the pupil was along the lines that Michelle had because he had really made what was a psychological breakthrough he had made a breakthrough.

You were unblocked and free to learn and.

I felt sure one could utilizing that kind of method you anything became more pleasurable to learn the ones who should have gotten this are not the movie stars who are going to be on site in Paris are going down to Mexico for a couple of weeks they're not the ones who should benefit from a instructional method of this part of this degree of power the young people Michele always felt that his approach was universal that he could apply to more than just a wealthy elite in the late 60s just a few miles from Hollywood this Los Angeles school put his method to the test if I think of a situation like in in watch where I had a high school junior high school with young people who were kept in by police patrol and paid parent patrol I wanted to demonstrate too short and show what can be done in teaching even and that the worst of circumstances the worst conditions and those were the worst conditions in South Central Los Angeles this school have become unguardable Michelle offered to come in and teach Michael Fay a former teacher at the schools has returned for the first time in almost 30 years King spoke there one time yeah as time went by and the conversations went on I finally agreed to organize a class for Michelle basically.

We could prove him wrong that is. Okay, Michelle we'll get you a class you can do your thing and you'll be sorry he carried on for about four weeks and then he asked us to come in and listen to a demonstration which we did we had myself the principal and some other people come in and sure enough these children were somewhat proficient in the French language they were speaking to each other in French they understood what each other was saying it was remarkable absolutely remarkable that Michelle you were right and I was wrong you did a fine job thank you Thomas spent the next few years trying to get approval for his method from various universities in the United States they were always very impressed but rarely gave him the credit he felt he deserved you on the time period whenever I demonstrated successfully how one can learn a language in a matter of a few days they always said that it cannot be replicated and it is that's only a bad course it only can be done by Michelle Thomas but. This is a percussion of personality of charisma whatever they may have called it is but they said. This is unique and cannot be replicated therefore it will not have a permanent value Michele is convinced his spectacular results will have a lasting value because of his methodology the unique ways he feels he is found to break down the grammar and structure of a language.

It is easily understood and learned probably a woman here would say because I cannot find it I can't find it an example he is prepared to share is the way he teaches pronouns words that replace things with a name words like it him and me knowing them is fundamental to using a language properly and being able to put them in the right part of a sentence usually means the student has done a great deal of hard work it is something Michele tackles after a few days to do in French is fear yes to remember fear will say well it's a fair thing to do is it's very fair to do it to make is very fair come with me to do it the fair yes I don't see anything but that means it that that the pronoun comes before the infinitive is nothing I just say we have to do prefer to do it that's that's all then immediately I were going to it and say well.

We can see I would like to do it you know she would say I would like I would like to do it she would really fear I would like to know at what time you're going to be here because I want to see you now the fair is or is something which is very natural very common to them yes.

That was the my note now the difference between to do fair and to do it the fear now I start replacing the verb to see.

If to see is voix and see well how would you say now I would to see it some students will then most of them will immediately say revoir yes yes and some some may not say me to live well then I will go back to you want us to do fair and to do it they will feel fear. Okay, now go to LA to see to see it ah live walk is they all get it I would like what I would like to see it back to a tale of woe de vacas also means to see him.

I'm going to see him tonight how would you say it they will say survey I'm going to see him live watch as well.

Now they know where is to see Lavoie rose to see it ought to see him and rot is her now we'll see how would you say I would like to see her automatically they will say from the great love well to see you right yes.

Again I would like to see you once more now they can say I would like to see you through with leave of well that will never occur to them to say I would like to see Shepherd ray where are you boo no never she will never see I would like to see right in English I would like to see you.

Brave well it will never get that it cannot it is said when he said clearly solidly it's just all lodged up here I'll go home and I'm sitting there and these things just popping in my head from the crash from the day we would be sitting in there all day speak something that's don't have to remember it it's just there he might ask somebody you know how do you say this in French one person will say and you look at him you look at him his doll to kind of confirm it with him but he won't say anything you know what he wants you to be sure within yourself whether you're saying it right he had to say something and one of us says it and then he goes to like to mean dad do you think that's right.

He goes east is the same feet and we're all in green and the same thing and were like yeah everybody individually and then and then he goes you're right and then he just got sad did you have to make us go through that to commit us for working together and getting it right we saw something it takes Michelle eight months to dissect the complete structure of a language and find a way to teach it.

It is effortless to learn but his unique analysis is something he has refused to share and he has never written anything down his legacy he decided was to be his tape course the vast majority of Michelle's students never meet him they learn their choice of language by listening to his voice through headphones again there's no homework the tapes do it for them exactly how and why they work only Michelle knows esperate. However, the tapes are never to be listened to outside of his schools but for this week the students form teacher Gina bar has been listening and learning Spanish with Tomas I love the way he breaks the like language down and and just build it up again and you can you can just see it I can just see the words and I can see how they change in different tenses and according to who's speaking no careless I know I don't have to worry because I know it's going to come up again and I'm sure for the rest of my life on him these shows saying some of these words to his supporters his tapes are evidence enough that he has developed a teaching technique of enormous value I believe that Michele's method should be examined in a more structured fashion I don't think that we need test trials of 10 years to come up with any findings about the fact that it works but it isn't very important to have real-life trials real life control groups and let's look at it let's look at it more rigorously now.

That it will get the credibility that it's due it will get the diffusion and the teaching profession that it deserves and it will get the understanding of all people who look at it about what learning is all about but when the opportunity arose for Michelle to open up to an enthusiastic audience at the University of California he would still only give a demonstration that his method worked I I was Dean of humanities at the time that I that I met Michelle and had the experience of working with him for about thirty hours about two and a half days and I was entirely persuaded at the end of these thirty hours that this was a remarkable experience and.

I was enthusiastically supportive and I exerted some modest influence within the division of humanities where something like 80 languages are are taught and Michelle came out and we had a meeting in in the college offices and it was a fiasco it just it just really did not go well they asked Michelle. Okay, provide us with some examples of what you do.

That we can assess whether you're doing anything differently than we're doing or and what is this miraculous method and he's not prepared to come up with anything I didn't do it inside of a university my whatever I think I did was independent and I did it independently completely totally independently and just to give it to for them to it to approve what no or to disapprove yes and to depend on what what they feel they can take out of it is it's not right I believe Michelle's protectiveness towards his program in his reluctance if you will to sort of just fill it out there and get it out there in the rest of the world is based on a realistic fear of what a commercial entity might do or not do both in terms of distorting his methodology and or maybe even stealing his ideas I think that's partially well-founded but he's got to get over that if we're going to have a legacy I don't have any reason to trust anybody who says look it given give me what you have.

That we can study it and then mobile it then mobile tell you what to think about it no I want to show them what is achieved what can be done yes otherwise I will only encourage plagiarism and this goes against my principles when you develop an idea in the academic world the very first thing you think of doing is sharing it with others if the idea has to do with an instructional method well then you put the method forward for evaluation by your colleagues by those who are experienced and knowledgeable and who can evaluate it with the possibility that it will be found acceptable and then it will spread and everyone will benefit from it and Michelle for whatever his motivation has kept this method an idea to himself it is the end of the week a Margaret Thompson has been granted her wish to watch Michelle and judge the students progress for herself again obviously yeah when when will you arrive give a choice come 11 are either right or z-ray right good it is very important for me it is important for me it's good some port on come round because I would like to see you pass every day to see you right sugar table mm-hmm I would like to know every day to knows.

Far what's more.

To know right.

Trace of wah if you want.

If you want to go see it with me the whole thing if you want anything is it right hmm if you want to go see it with me see if you want again go Ali ending away yeah see it you up with me tonight it's a SWAT right mm-hmm what time are you going to be here are you going are you going I like to be here yes mm-hmm well it was very impressive very impressive I think they practiced one of the students themselves say they learned in one week what they learn in five years and interestingly one of the girls said after five years in school my French teacher said I think you better give up because there's no way you're going to succeed and here she said I just managed it fine I feel as if I understand it.

I'm interested to know really about how you found first of all how you found the experience and how you how much you think you've learned that's always difficult to answer that question but good better than the teachers why is it better why is it very different why is it different cuz names himself he don't he doesn't make you feel lost if you're stuck on a word he'll just take you right back to the beginning like if he was a baby you saying ABC doesn't take you right back and then you just actually like click and you know what you're saying then st. in English first and then we'll sort break it down they will think well. This is how you translate back into the language and then it's easier that way we're just in our new classes we're just told to say something and remember that. This is like broken to pieces and each piece we remember I would use each piece for a next sentence and it's just really easy that way he doesn't throw things at you you know. This is that and. This is that he's kind of muck he's kind of like made the structure into such a way that you go by it and once you've got the ingredients like you couldn't cook what you want but you have any writing at all have you seen any French you know write down a note if you don't take in now you're never gonna get it right you have to concentrate he's just got patience you got all the time in the world you know you have to really you can like think about it just sit back think about it and it's like it's just coming through your mind cuz your mind is relaxed and you know that he's just saying patience you're like. Okay, I will be patient okay.what take my time and we'll think about it and it just comes out the revelation is that it's the learning process itself that motivates these kids math the mastery of the structure the mastery of part of the language is the thing that keeps them going and keeps them enthusiastic and we lose sight of that in the way we teach we try and we think we capture their interest by finding them interesting materials that are supposedly related to their interests outside in the world generally and maybe we missed the point and I think he's probably onto something very important here I don't want what I've created throughout the years to just disappear in the sand but the value of it to be recognized and used wherever it can be for that I have to make it available I hope I will succeed before it is too late with this program being the first public explanation of any of his methods time would appear to be running out you.

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