THE VAUGHAN METHOD
The Method that Works.
The Vaughan Method is based on three key elements:
ORAL BASED CLASSES
The first important aspect of the Vaughan Method is that classes are mainly oral-based. At Vaughan Systems we believe that knowledge of grammar isn’t enough to master a language. In a conventional class outside of Vaughan, teachers often focus on ‘grammar theory’ and not so much on the practice of the language. For example, many teachers make students learn English as if the language were made up of equations and get students to memorise structures like if + present simple + future = = the first conditional. At Vaughan, however, we believe that in a real-life situation, when it really matters, there isn’t enough time to refer back to theory in this way. The method we apply is designed to get students to increase their agility with the language and to train students to communicate in correct English without having to think. This agility with language, from our experience, doesn’t come from hours of studying grammar theory, but rather spending hours of putting this theory into practice.
Despite the fact that classes at Vaughan Systems are mainly oral- based, this doesn’t mean that we do conversation in class. In fact, the amount of conversation exercises we do is limited. We work mainly on grammar, but putting the grammar into practice by using drills to elicit specific responses until students assimilate and become agile with the language we teach.
As we work primarily on spoken English, classes with the Vaughan Method are full of energy to the extent that it’s very difficult for students to switch off or to get bored in class. They know that in any given moment they will be required to understand and then Vaughan class encourages concentration and, therefore, this allows students to make the most of every second in the class, which is ultimately reflected in their progress.
The second important aspect of the Vaughan Method is that we correct every mistake on the spot and then get students to repeat.
Why do we correct every mistake?
By doing so students become more confident with English because they’re able to see their progress. They notice that the teacher corrects aspects of their English less and less as they improve.
Students end up trusting teachers as they know that when they haven’t been corrected by the teacher, this means they’ve used correct English. For example, if a teacher doesn’t correct every mistake, students can never be sure that what they’re saying is correct. With the Vaughan Method they can.
We believe that if a mistake is left uncorrected, it’s automatically reinforced in the student’s mind and therefore the student is more likely to make that same mistake again in the future. By correcting every mistake, we break bad habits and create good ones.
Students learn from each other’s mistakes and this encourages them to participate and concentrate for the entire duration of the class.
Correcting every mistake creates positive anxiety in the class as students are anxious about speaking correctly but in a class atmosphere that’s fast, fun and demanding.
Why do we correct on the spot?
We find that if we correct students on the spot, it’s easier for the student to understand what the mistake was – as it’ll still be fresh in their mind.
Because practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes automatic. If there’s a delay in correcting the mistake, it’s more likely that the mistake will become automatic. We insist on correcting an error on the spot in order to make the correct answer the language that’s “automatic” to the student.
Students end up correcting their own mistakes when they speak and this self-correction is an important step towards assimilating the language.
Why do we get students to repeat?
If we corrected a student and then carried on the class without saying anything, this would make correction a negative thing. By getting the student to repeat the correct way, it means that we can praise the student and always finish the process of correcting in a positive way.
When a student makes a mistake, it’s important to repeat the right way of saying the point various times in order to “undo” the bad habit.
Repetition also helps create confidence, as there are fewer doubts about what is the correct way of saying the point in question.
Learning a language is not an easy task and mistakes are inevitable. At Vaughan we don’t ignore these mistakes, we accept that they are an important part of the language learning process; therefore we work on them over and over again until students gain agility with the correct use of the language.
The third important aspect of the Vaughan Method is motivation. We make it our “mission” to ensure that students make the most of every second in class and their time outside of class. One of the main ways we keep students motivated is by showing them their progress. We don’t ignore mistakes, we keep track of them and we work on them until they become strong points. With the Vaughan Method students are aware that they are indeed making real progress and this ultimately encourages them to want to progress even more.