A lesson in trust


What could be more weird than a language teacher who almost never speaks in class? Maybe a dancing teacher who can’t dance.

That’s what I did many years ago. The lesson was recorded and a kind person transcribed it but I’ve only now translated it into English and put it on line here: A Dance Lesson.  The lesson couldn’t have taken place if my student (and friend) Christiane Rozet hadn’t trusted me and I hadn’t trusted her. It also helped that we both adhered to the same conception of how people learn and what the teacher’s role is.

Most of my professional life was spent quite otherwise: teaching a skill I do master myself. I’m a native-speaker of English who is lucky enough to both speak with a variant of RP and to write Standard English with very few hesitations. I also know quite a lot about the language: grammar, phonology, history, etc. Over the years, I’ve picked up hundreds of pedagogical techniques for “getting across” various aspects of the language. But all that can be a hindrance to being simply present to a particular student and responding to their needs “here and now”. Choosing to “teach” a subject about which I know next to nothing freed me from all that irrelevant baggage. It was scary but also exhilarating.
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Glenys Hanson

Glenys Hanson

Contact:  glenys.hanson at

I’ve always enjoyed trying out new ideas and dealing with challenges. So I was lucky I spent most of my professional life working in an institution where I was almost totally free to experiment as I wished in the classroom.

Career at the CLA

I taught English as a foreign language at the Centre de linguistique appliquée of the Université de Franche-Comté in France from 1977 to 2010, mainly in adult education, but also with university and high school students.

The Silent Way

Not long before I arrived at the CLA, I had come across the Silent Way and embarked on a journey of exploration and discovery which is far from over 40 years later. This  post-constructivist pedagogy provided me with mental tools which enabled me to put my students in situations where they could take responsibility for their own learning.

These ideas have inspired me to apply the concepts of subordinating teaching to learning to the creation of on-line interactive exercises. It’s not easy and though I’ve made hundreds of Hot Potatoes exercises I’m far from satisfied with the results. While I was working at the CLA, I created English Online France, a site of resources for people learning English and their teachers. It’s been redesigned but most of the content I created remains the same. I also had the opportunity of creating alnd running a dozen on-line distance courses in the same spirit..

At the same time, I created a site for the association Une Education Pour Demain from 2001-2013 but it was redesigned in 2014 and the content is now different.

Current activities

At the moment, I’m revamping and moving the English Grammar Exercises and English Pronunciation Exercises to  the ESL EXOS website and doing my best to improve them: pedagogically, technically and aesthetically.  I have a Glenys Hanson YouTube account which I use mainly to publish video tutorials showing students how to do the exercises.

My objective in creating this new blog is to make it easier for language teachers in search of new ideas to find resources.

This short video might give you some idea of how I worked in the classroom.


Silent Way Articles

Subordinating teaching to learning…

… and also various ways of using Cuisenaire rods in language classes


Don Cherry 2009 Color Chart

Don Cherry 2009 Color Chart

One of Deborah Delin’s animations

John Pint – Finger correction

  • One More Step to being Freer in Learning ESL – Andrew WEILER 1992, The Science of Education in Questions No – 9 – June 1993. Une Education Pour Demain, Besançon, France.
  • Articulatory approach for teaching pronunciation. Wikipedia. 2015.

… and 4 online books

Roslyn Young and Piers Messum

Roslyn Young has written numerous articles on the Silent Way. You will find links to online versions of many of them on her site: Roslyn Young.

Piers Messum has also written many articles related to the Silent Way. You’ll find them on the Pronunciation Science downloads page.

Between them, Roslyn and Piers have written 4 books: