the fun-fast way
explains a typical activation session, after French-language students have slept on a
concert-session: "The next morning, or within 48 hours, the students come in; they
haven't said a word of French yet - or at least not in the new vocabulary. Now comes three
or four hours of what we call activation.
"Now we play games with the vocabulary. We're
feeding their brains in different ways. We've already done it consciously in showing them
the words and pictures of their French play. Then we've fed it into their subconscious,
with the aid of music. And now they're activating their brains in different ways to make
sure it's stored. And I tell you: now I wouldn't teach in any other way."
Schmid, who unfortunately died not long after our
interview, had degrees in music, psychology and foreign language instruction. He taught at
the University of Texas and New York University for many years with traditional methods
before "getting hooked" on the new techniques.
"I started to teach French and German and
sometimes Italian with these new techniques; I wanted to see if the system worked, if it
really was all it was cracked up to be. And I was amazed. I would teach students in a
three and a half hour class. I'd give them 400 words of French, say, the first day. And by
the end of the third day they were able to repeat them in forms of conversation. And that
had never happened before."
"Previously at the university, if I gave students
25 words a day in the old way, they'd be lucky to remember ten the next day. I was
"In fact, when I first started using the
techniques myself, I started dreaming in the language after about the third day. And I had
never had that feedback before."
Schmid's experience left him no doubt as to the
benefits of the new learning methods: "I would say the speed-up in the learning
process is anywhere from five to 20 times - maybe 25 times - over what it was in
traditional methods. But it's not only the acceleration; it's the quality of learning that
goes on. And the feedback. They say: 'This is fun. Why didn't I learn this way in high
"Recently at a New England telephone company
students were using these methods to study optic fibers and some technical
telecommunications work. The trainees were sitting on the floor, playing with wooden
blocks, fitting them together and understanding what goes on in an optic fiber. The
trainer said: 'OK, it's time for a break.' And the trainees said:
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