The 5 Elements of the Callan Method Lesson
5 activities in 50 Minutes
A Callan-Method lesson typically lasts 50 minutes and contains 5 elements.
1. “Ask me a question with the word…“
We start and end with the same 2 minute activity. I call it: “Ask me a question with the word…“ for example: Ask me a question with the word book/feel/trip/monkey…” This is code for “let’s start the lesson now“ or “that’s it for today“.
An experienced teacher can comfortably go through one page of Revision in one minute so roughly 15 pages of revision in the first part of the lesson…depending, of course, on how dense the material is, how the students are feeling on the day and how long it’s been since their last lesson etc. The rule of thumb here is… more revision is better than less. Overlearning is a good thing.
Reading is a fantastic tool for breaking the lesson up a bit before you dive into teaching New Work. It normally takes between 5 and 10 minutes. Reading in the Callan Methodology has a very specific meaning. You will often hear it used as a countable noun. I like to include at least one Reading per session. If two readings are done, we might not have time for a Dictation.
4. New Work
The ratio of Revision to New Work is roughly 80/20. After 40 minutes of revisory activities new words, phrases, idioms and grammar are presented and practiced. 10 minutes of New Work is generally enough to cover 3 to 6 pages of material. Time is a resource and students‘ concentration span is brief, but don’t be alarmed, the revision will be plentiful.
As with Readings, Dictations have a very specific role to play in the Callan Method learning process. 3-5 minutes is all it takes to do one, provided the transitions to and from this activity are smooth. Some students choose to check their dictations during break time or at home which gives them more time to interact with the teachers and/or other students in class.
To sum up…
2-3 minutes for „Ask me a question with the word…“
15 minutes for Revision
10 minutes for Reading
roughly 10 minutes for New Work
5 minutes for a Dictation and
2-3 minutes for „Ask me a question with the word…“ at the end of the lesson