What do you think about the Callan Method?

Abdul   Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:27 pm GMT
Is attending classes necessary to get benifitted from callan method?
i've this method in audio format.. can any one tell me how to use it optimally??

i don't visit here regularly plz be kind enough to find some time mailing me at


i'll be soooooo much greatful to you people
Guest   Mon Sep 17, 2007 2:45 pm GMT
<What do you think about the Callan Method?

http://www.callan.co.uk >

I think it's like working or studying on a treadmill, a production line for robotic thinkers and users.
Guest   Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:43 pm GMT

I am from Turkey and going to teach English with this method. It is going to be private course for adult.I need some help for choosing the book and supporting the lesson with other materials ex,worksheets etc..Would you please give me some advise.
Thank you
Cecile Yaziciyan
Guest   Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:11 am GMT
I am from Turkey and AM going to teach English with this method. It is going to be *A* private course for adultS. I need some help IN choosing the book and supporting the lesson with other materials, for example, worksheets etc. Would you please give me some adviCe.

Thank you

Cecile Yaziciyan
Albert Bristow   Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:55 pm GMT
Hi I am teaching the Callan method here in peru for about 5 years now And i can say that the method works on some students that really want to learn but if you get those students who are forced by work or parents then it struggles along i recommend that teachers of this course change the questions every now and then as the books are outdated and sometime a bit cruel towards woman and some of the questions if you are a native speaker it will make you laugh to yourself so if any english teachers around the world have plans to come to peru and would like to earn some extra money write to me and send your CV to apbristow1@gmail.com
Guest   Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:53 pm GMT
<**Hi I am teaching** the Callan method here in peru for about 5 years now And i can say that the method works on some students that really want to learn>

Sorry, but if you *have been teaching* it for that long, why don't you know how to use the present perfect progressive?
an alternative?   Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:29 am GMT
Has anyone heard of or know anything about the Speak Your Mind method as an alternative to Callan or other general English language courses?
iain   Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:24 pm GMT
How long will schools be able to carry on flogging this dying horse? Callan has a powerful directness that in the hands of an enthusisatic 'lesson conductor' appeals to many, although how long the appeal will endure is another matter. 'Slow learners' tend to learn the method rather than learn English and inevitably hit a barrier where memorisation alone fails to help them overcome. Even ardent Callan followers admit that beyond elementary level the material simply does not make the grade and as the as the years pass the material gets more and more outdated.
At least with a Callan school you know what you're getting: and you know what you're getting tomorrow and the days and months after. And consistency is a value that consumers appreciate.
new teacher   Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:01 am GMT
Has anyone got scanned (.pdf format) copies of any of The Callan Method books that they can share. I am interested to learn more about the method.
Please share.
Jano   Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:58 am GMT
Dear new teacher, I am arfaid that copying from Callan books would be breaking the law, since all these books "copyrighted"..
Hugo   Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:53 pm GMT
Elliot, I worked at the Callan School in London way back in 1977 and was there for 3 years. I returned to the school in 1984 looking for work and was employed as a vice director with duties including teaching, student testing and placement and teacher training. I left again after three and?a?half years.

From a teacher's point of view CALLAN can be fun if you don't mind thinking too much, just following the script, talking fast for 50 minutes and then leaving. You can go and get drunk in the nearby pub once you've finished your day, too. Once you are familiar with the material there is no preparation needed. However, once I had become familiar with it I realised that beyond elementary level it was largely a waste of time. I started off by refusing to teach what was then Book 3 and beyond, and later the then Book 2 (now, redivided into Books 3 and 4, I believe) and ended up only ever teaching Book 1 classes.

A common complaint among schools using the Callan Method is that it's hard to keep students beyond the middle of the old Book 2 (or end of the post-division Book 2). Students can find the initial Book 1 experience useful as each lesson immeses them in 50 minutes of spoken English but once they find their feet, as so to speak, they realise that the Callan Method has nothing greater to offer. My opinion is that Book 1 was written by Robin Callin in a flush of enthusiasm
but then it all became too much and he just slogged through the next 5 books.

Even Book 1, if taught according to the teaching manual, does little to help many students learn to use English. It OFTEN merely teaches them to answer the questions correctly and leaves them without any flexibility or autonomy in real-life situations.

When I (eventually) opened my own school in Tokyo in 1998 I did consider using the Callan Method and looked into it to see if it had been brought into the 21st century and was amazed to find that it was just the same as it has been 20 years before, which is the same as it had been 20 years before that. (It still insists on using 'whilst' instead of 'while'.) I decided not to and then heard about a course called Speak Your Mind, which I see another poster has asked about. There are some common genes but Speak Your Mind seemed a long way up the evolutionary scale.
Almost as soon as I started using Speak Your Mind I thanked my lucky stars that I hadn't gone with Callan. To give a simple example of where Speak Your Mind leaves Callan in the dust is that in the 9 years I've been using it the course material has been revised and updated 4 times. The guy who has developed the material and methodology owns and runs 2 schools in Italy and is still an active teacher and teacher-trainer and whenever, through direct or shared experience, he finds a better way of helping students learn he incorporates it into the course. In contrast to this approach, not only has Robin Callan revised nothing in the past 40 or 50 years and it's been about 35 years since he was last in a classroom.

There isn't space here to go into much detail on the effectiveness of Speak Your Mind, nor do I have the time, but if you are a student looking for a school and you have the opportunity to attend one that uses Speak Your Mind, go for it. You will find a lesson format that is both enjoyable and will make immediate sense in terms of helping you to learn English.

As a teacher I find Speak Your Mind a joy to teach. It's very interactive and gives students endless opportunity to practice what they are learning in a real and enjoyable way. It's speaking-based and reflects the need of most students to develop their ability to use English in order to communicate verbally. There is relevant writing and reading practice, too, but up to Unit 8 (there are 18 units) that's used as an aid to building up fluency and comprehension. Even at advanced levels the emphasis is on the spoken language.

I speak 4 foreign languages with varying degrees of fluency, from near-native to adequate for travelling, and see the benefit of the Speak Your Mind very much in terms of the things I know I have had to learn. I know that Callan lacks those qualities.

For anyone interested, they can visit my school website... mostly in Japanese I'm afraid... at:

I hope this helps.
Lena   Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:07 pm GMT
Scary!!!!!!!!!! Probably the scariest is creating the illusion that students WILL achieve if only THEY want to, so if they do not succeed it is their own doing, they did not want bad enough.
Well, Mr Callan seems to me a controlling personality, with other very unpleasant traits as we read above from other entries, disliking professionals in the field of English teaching, patronising towards both teachers and students, insulting their intelligence, etc, etc.
Would we trust sb who likes adding numbers to teach us Maths, or someone deeply interested in medicine to operate on us???
A bit of an exaggeration? maybe, however as a professional Enlgish teacher of 25 years always interested in new developments, linguist and teacher trainer I find it astounding that methods like these still are around despite criticism from those who teach according to them. I can understand their motives but maybe it is time for an equivelent of a Hippocrates's oath for teachers.
I have taught in Poland many years ago and am sorry to see that the fashion for "fashions" still exists and going strong! Despite the high intellectual status of Poles and their demand for professionalism. Perhaps it is the case that they are unaware of the source of the Method and see it as THE NEWEST, most up to date, modern development in EFL/ESL methodology, maybe that is the way it is advertised?? However it is so OLD! There is nothing wrong with old yet we are past the times of teaching only according to one method, where "sth is good and another not good", treating learners as non critical entities.
In my very long professional career I have taught according to many methods, all of which had a solid grounding in Pedagogy, Androgody, theory, etc, however the Callan method has disregard for the work and research within the field, is out dated and seems fundamentally floored with no understanding for Reflective Teaching one of the key elements of modern methodology and present teacher training!
Callan's method is not rocket science and any practitioner will teach speaking and listening with the use of similar techniques, but this method is based on control, dependence on the tutor and does not create an environment for the learners to create "their own speaking" even if it means making mistake.
Aneileus   Tue Nov 27, 2007 7:39 pm GMT
I have been a Callan teacher for a long time, as well as a teacher of English by more traditional methods. True, Mr. Callan's personality is quite clear from the method. I picture him sitting in a wing-backed chair sipping cognac by a fire, wondering how the world will ever survive political correctness, and reminiscing about the days when you could say what you wanted without fear of criticism. He is old fashioned and perhaps morbid and misogynistic.

The method is what it is though. Teachers are not supposed to mess with it (by Mr. Callan's own strong admonition) but I have found that it is not the bizzare questions he asks that makes it work, but rather the logic of the method. I change the order of some things and expand on things and omit some things. You should only do this when you have some experience with the method, but the fact is, some adjustment may be needed depending on who you are teaching. For example, Hungarians do not learn the same way as Poles due to difference in their ways of thinking. Language affects our thought patterns. In addition, a note to the author of the previous post: I taught in Poland and later in Hungary. Poles do really well with this method, or any other method beacuse they are capable of deductive as well as inductive reasoning AND beacuse they can put their faith in the teacher. Hungarians on the other hand, only deduce, as their own language limits them to movement from the general to the specific and so they do not extrapolate very well, AND they don't trust anyone; they tend to believe that they know how to teach Enlish better than the teacher, so they do not do well woth the method.

It is a good method for some, and for others, well, they just never get anywhere with it. In general, auditory learners do better than visual learners, anyone whose first language has grammatical logic that follows latin (like Romance languages, even Slavic languages) does better than than others (like Hungarians), and people who read the book at home do beter than those who take the claims of learning English effortlessly too seriously.

One thing is for sure. The author (Mr. Callan) is a psychological study waiting to happen.
Aneileus   Tue Nov 27, 2007 7:52 pm GMT
Just one postscript...

Just so that no one thinks I am trying to turn this into a Hungarian-bashing forum, I am a Polish-American living among Hungarians and what I say about Hungarians is totally true. We can make generalizations about all nationalities. I, for example as a Pole am a hypochodriac and think that calcium, garlic in hot milk, and vodka cures everything, and as an American I can't locate Poland on a map. :)
Lena   Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:34 am GMT
I am a little concerned about the generalisation made by the previous entrant and the "totally true" and the difference between Poles and Hungarians as I happen to know both nations pretty personally and as a teacher. After all "Polak Wegier dwa bratanki" ("Pole and Hungarian like brothers" a historical quote which I can elaborate on another time if of interest), yes I am a comparative theoretical/applied linguist, and as far as grammatical features of Hungarian go it is one of the most complex grammatically language ( an aglutinative language) from the ugro-finish family of languages. That is where the attitude of Hungarians may stem from, after all they speak a very difficult and unique language. Those features I have also noticed in Poles, but hey! we are all different! I have taught people from every continent probably most countries, and in my closest family there are at least 6 cultures that are mixed together and would hesitate to make such generalisations as a teaching professional.
Each individual learns differently and it is the art and imagination of the teacher to make a lesson work to make it a creative experience for and together with the learners. Now as it seems the previous entrant is trying a little of that within a strictly controlled "obligatory" environment. What would MR Callan say to that!!!
And by the way even some Brits think that Poles live in igloos! So ignorance is not a uniquely American feature-speaking of generalisations.
One more thing, I am very surprised that Callan's the books are still used from the equal ops/human rights point of view, but then one could argue the opposite?!