BBC – Michel Thomas – The Language Master [English CC] [Leg. PT-BR]

Transcription and synchronisation:
Alan Pereira This reminds me of
my own classrooms. As a child, as a
youngster in high school. And it was always
under stress. Uncomfortable. One had to associate
learning with work. With concentration.
With paying attention. With homework.
It’s all work, work… But learning shouldn’t be work,
learning should be excitement. Learning should be pleasure. And one should experience a
constant sense of progression in learning, and one would want more. That is learning to me. And the teacher is somebody who will
facilitate and show how to learn. Every kid that likes baseball knows
every batting average of every ballplayer
and every statistic. You just know it effortlessly
without putting in any effort. So was with
learning with Michel. You know, it was
it was effortless. Michel is a mentor. He is a person who
believes as the teacher. That he has the responsibility
for your learning. I said to Michel: Michel, either you’re
the biggest fraud that has ever walked
the face of the earth, or alternatively
you are someone who has been associated
with more miracles than anyone
I have ever known. He is a one-man
language industry. But all he is concerned with is
the art of communication. To those that
have learned with him, Michel Thomas is the
greatest teacher in the world. He runs a small number of highly exclusive
language schools in the United States. But what goes on in their classrooms
is a closely guarded secret. He claims to have completely removed
the effort from learning. No reading, writing or
any form of homework. Just listening and talking. Years of work apparently
reduced to just days. And after teaching
for over 50 years, He now has a very
select group of clients. Michel claimed that he could
teach me French over a weekend. In three days or so. And I thought, “Why not?”
This was years ago. It was a very nominal fee. And, what have I got to lose? If the guy is crazy and I lose
a couple hundred bucks. Or it’s some
kind of miracle. So I gave it a try
and he was amazing. Michel has agreed
to come to London to the City And Islington
Sixth Form Centre. to demonstrate for
the first time ever the techniques he uses to produce
his apparently miraculous results. He promises that with
his method of teaching even the most ordinary student
can acquire in just days a depth knowledge of a language that
would normally take years to learn. Checking up on what Michel
manages to achieve will be the head of French at
the school, Margaret Thompson. I think there are different
aptitudes for languages, yes. And I think it requires
quite a lot of things, like attention to detail, that kids
really don’t want to be bothered with. Languages, and I’m talking more
now about languages generally. The way they are taught
at the moment, require a lot of hard graft,
and a lot of attention to detail. A lot of repetition.
A lot of things that students find boring. Michel doesn’t believe in
the concept of an aptitude for learning, or being a good student.
Only good and bad teaching. – Hello! But the pupils he has been given,
who all volunteered for this experiment would, by most standards, be classed
as academically very average. What they’ve been promised is five solid
days with Michel in the classroom. And the most astonishing educational
experience of their lives. I’m very pleased to meet you and
I’m looking forward to teaching you today. But under better
physical conditions because I don’t think that where
you’re sitting is very comfortable. I would like you to
feel comfortable. So we’re going to
rearrange everything here. As there is no reading or
writing in his lessons, there’s no need for
desks or a blackboard. For Michel no one can really
learn unless anything that causes stress is removed
from the experience. It’s the driving force that influenced
every aspect of his teaching. Before starting I’m going to set up a very important rule.
A very important ground rule. And that rule is for you never
to worry about remembering. Never to worry about remembering
anything, and therefore not try. Never to try to remember anything
from one moment to the next. This is a method where the
responsibility for your remembering and for learning
is in the teaching. So, if at any point there is
something you don’t remember, this is not your problem. And it will be up to me to know why
you don’t remember individually, and what to do about it. All these students are doing vocational
qualifications because they don’t like exams. Paula has studied some Italian before,
but is completely new to French. Dormand has failed his Spanish GCSE.
He has never studied French before today. Abdul tried German, but
failed his GCSE late last year. And Anthony tried French for just
a few years before giving up. Maria and Saphinder have both tried
and failed their french GCSEs. And Emily was told by her French
teacher at school to give up because she had no talent
for languages whatsoever. Words in English ending
in -ible, like ‘possible’ and in -able, like ‘table’ they all come from French
and are the same they have the same spelling,
the same meaning. Except for the “prononciation”.
For the ‘pronunciation’. -ible in French is
pronounced “ihbl” Like ‘possible’ would be “possible”. And -able, because the letter ‘a’
is pronounced “ah”, -able is pronounced “ahble”. Like ‘table’ would be “table”. – ‘Acceptable’ would be?
– “Acceptable” Yes, go on. Yes, “acceptable”. Yes. And ‘comfortable’ would be? – “Confor…”
– “Confortable” – Once more.
– “Confortable” – “Confort…”
– “Confortable” – Right! Say it again.
– “Confortable” “Confortable”, yes. Have you ever heard the
expression “C’est la vie”? No? “C’est” means ‘it is’ And is spelled C ‘ E-S-T.
“C’est” means ‘it is’. How do you spell “C’est”? – “C’est”?
– C ‘ E-S-T C ‘ E-S-T. Once more? – C ‘ E-S-T
– Right What was ‘table’? – “Table”
– “Table” ‘Comfortable’? – “Confortable”
– “Confortable” ‘It is comfortable’? – “C’est” … ?
– “C’est confortable” – Say it again: ‘it is’ …
– “C’est” … – No. Once more: ‘it is’ … “C’est confortable” – So, once more: ‘it is’ …
– “C’est confortable” “C’est confortable”. Yes. I will dissect everything
into small parts and reassemble
it in such away that one will understand
everything step by step. That understanding, to learn and
to know how to apply it in a practical way, and putting
it into sentences and more and more
complex sentences and expressing
one’s own thoughts. And not in memorized phrases. That is important. – ‘Will you speak French with me’?
– “Voulez-vous” … – Once more?
– “Voulez-vous” ? Right! – “Voulez-vous” …
– No, “Vous” like in “voodoo”! It’s “Vous” “voodoo”! Ok, ok. – “Voulez-vous”
– Right! … ‘speak French’ – “Parlez français”
– ‘With me’ – “Pour moi”
– Not ‘for me’ – Oh, I’m sorry. “Avec moi”.
– “Avec moi”. Yes. How would you say:
‘Will you go eat with me?’ – “Voulez-vous”
– Once more? – “Voulez-vous” !
– Right, ‘go’ – “Allez”
– ‘Eat’ – “Manger”
– ‘With me’ – “Avec moi”
– Right. Learning has
to be knowledge. And learning has to be
based on understanding. And what you understand you
can absorb, internalize and it becomes knowledge.
What you know, you don’t forget. You can block something
that you know, but not forget. Words in English
ending in -ent and -ant come from French
and are the same. -ent and -ant are
pronounced “uhn” at the end. Like ‘restaurant’
would be “restaurant”. You don’t sound the “T”. So, again,
what is ‘restaurant’? “Restaurant” You always stress
the ending softly. French ears are
too into endings. So, how would
you say ‘restaurant’? “Restaurant” Well, I only… How do you pronounce it?
Could you tell me? That’s what I
want you to do. The stress should be on the
ending, not on “restau…” – “Restaurant”
– Right, yes. Always hit the
ending, yes? – “Restaurant”
– “Restaurant” A little better.
Make it better. – “Restaurant”
– Yes. – “Restaurant”
– “Restaurant” Margaret would like to get into
the classroom to see Michel at work. I’m loving the idea of it
being intensive like this … But it’s not the
intensity of the program that produces the results.
It’s the method. I want to see how the students
perform after one week and it could be fascinating. And I just wonder if I could see
any part of your teaching. – That will be difficult
– Will it be? Yeah. Because already with the
interruptions we have had. Really? Even if I sit very
quietly at the back? – Even so.
– They feel inhibited? – Maybe at the end.
– At the end? Alright. – You are here until Friday?
– Yes, until Friday. – Alright. I would really like to do that.
– Okay. It is very important for
you when you walk out not to practice,
not to try to remember not to review mentally,
and not to test yourself And say: “Oh, let me
see what I can remember” It is very important
to leave it alone. ‘Please’ is “s’il vous plaît” So, once more:
‘Not so fast, please.’? – “Pas”
– ‘so fast’ “Si vite” – “S’il vous plaît”
– Right. “Pas si vite, s’il vous plaît” So, once more:
what is ‘to speak’? – “Parler”
– “Parler”! ‘You speak’? – “Vous parlez”
– “Vous parlez”! ‘You speak too fast for me’ – “Vous parlez trop” …
– “Trop” yes! – “Pour moi”
– You just said ‘you speak too much’ No, ‘too fast’ – “Vous”
– ‘Speak’? – “Parlez”
– ‘Too fast’. “Vous parlez”… “Trop vite” – “Trop vite”
– No, “vite”, “vite” – “Trop vite”
– “Trop vite pour moi” Right, “Vous parlez trop vite pour moi” ‘Will you?’ or ‘Do you want?’ – “Voulez-vous?”
– “Voulez-vous?”! How do you spell
“Voulez-vous”? – V-O-U-L
– Ending? E-R or Z Well, it goes with you. – E-Z
– Right. Very good. How would you say: ‘You want’ ? – “Vous voulez” Thank you.
“Vous voulez” ‘To begin’, ‘to start’
or ‘to commence’ is … ? “Commencer” – Ending?
– E-R ‘You start’, ‘you’re starting’ ? – “Vous commencez”
– Ending? E-Z ‘Do you start?’,
‘Are you starting?’ – “Commencez-vous?”
– Ending? – Z?
– Once more? Z, “Commencez-vous?” “Commencez”, and ending in “commencez” ? – E-Z
– E-Z hyphen V-O-U-S It has been nine solid hours of lessons
with just one short break for lunch. They can expect exactly the
same over the next four days. – Do you think he is a good teacher?
– Oh, amazing. I think he’s great. No books, no notes. Nothing. He’s different than the English
teachers in this country. Definitely. And he’s a bit of a
dictionary, actually! He is, because
something like… He explains something like…
What was it? A verb. Ok. A school would’ve told you a
verb is a doing word, right? – To him it’s not a doing word.
– It’s together with ‘to’, right? Yeah, it’s ‘to’, ‘to have’.
Then you know that it’s a verb. After ‘to’, after the word ‘to’. ‘You have to work,
to paint, to leave …’ I just kept to that thinking of words,
which I wasn’t meant to. So go for a nap and
don’t think of it. In case you come on Monday,
he’s gonna know. Because it seems he can
read people’s minds. He’s telepathic, in some way.
He can read everyone’s minds. He can read
everyone’s minds. And he starts
saying things like don’t pick words from whatever,
from the wave and everything. And you just tell yourself:
He knows what I’m going to say next. Whenever he needs to talk to
you and ask you a question he’s looking into you and he
knows what you’re thinking inside. It is almost technically impossible
to lie to Michel Thomas. He may not detect
what the truth is but he will know when
he’s not being given it. Michel Thomas learned his
skills as a communicator during the Second World War which is one of the most
remarkable periods of his life. He extracted a great
deal of information from former SS and
Wehrmacht offices. And he was responsible for securing some
top-secret German documents which were invaluable at
the subsequent triumph. Death sentences at Dachau. The Nazi killers of Mauthausen
concentration camp. The vote was taken, concurring,
sentences you to death by hanging at such time and place as higher
authority may direct. Michel had first-hand experience of
fascism growing up in Germany and he escaped to France
at the start of the war He fought with the
french resistance but with the liberation
of france in 1944 he joined the American
Army Counterintelligence Corp. His knowledge of at least seven languages
meant to move into interrogation. He became well known for his
ability to extract information from the most difficult prisoners
without resorting to violence. In April 1945, he recorded
his experience of liberating the concentration
camp at Dachau. His job whilst there was to extract
from the head of the crematorium exact details of the atrocities
committed at the camp. What we fought against during World War Two,
the evils we fought against, was defeated, at least temporarily
defeated, or military defeated. If not more than that. But we not only fought against
something, against evil, but we fought for dignity, for freedom.
For freedom of all of it. Meaning for a solid, healthy sense
of democracy and free society. And I felt that that can only
be achieved and maintained through good and
strong education. Through a good and strong
educational system. Because without it, one will
always be vulnerable to any attack. They’re going to be swept away like what
happened 60 years ago. Whatever. Within a few years of
the end of the war, Thomas left for
the United States and began a very successful career
as a teacher to the stars. My place became a place for actors,
actresses, producers, directors, writers. And who is
who in Hollywood. Michel Thomas was the man
who taught Grace Kelly French. And the French director François Truffaut
came to Hollywood to learn English. It cost 10,000 pounds one-on-one, and movie stars were the
guinea pigs for his techniques. He worked with Yves Montand
on the set of Let’s Make Love. Yves Montand had no background
in his own language, in French. Because, as he told me, he grew up
in the slums of Marseille, and had a very poor
educational background and had no idea
about French grammar. And all he was able to… He thought he knew what present tense is,
the future tense and the past tense. Because he associated present with now,
and whatever happens now is in the present. And whatever happens
tomorrow is the future. And whatever happened
yesterday is the past. I couldn’t get hold of the
simple tenses into other tenses. And the only way
I was able to do it, was by associating each tense with
a different motion, a different movement. And now he could react in French and
in English to those different movements. And this is how he
was able to learn. How to use structure and tense,
and all the tenses in French and at the same time in English. Right, “parce-que”. So, once more?
‘Because’ ? “Parce que”.
Once more? “Parce que” “Ce n’est pas”
‘It is not’ “Pas”
‘Not’ All those movements only help in
the beginning to lead them into it and that all stops because it is important not
to be dependent on movement or dependent on any teacher. Right. “Combien de temps?” ‘How long can
you stay here?’ – “Combien de temps” …
– Yes. “Combien de temps” …
‘can you’ ? “Pouvoir” …
“Pouvez” … – “Pouvez voi” …
– ‘Can you’ ! – “Pouvez-vous”
– Right! ‘Stay’ ? – “Rester”
– ‘here’ ? – “Ici”
– Right! Michel went into
this language grew out of it it’s essential
components and their relationship to each other
in some kind of way that allowed him to
simplify the whole thing and then an ability to put it back
all together again in a way that allowed others to
enter the language. “À quelle heure
commencez-vous?” Right. “À quelle heure
commencez-vous?” I felt that if the structure
of educational interaction between the
teacher and pupil was along the lines
that Michel had. I could see it really made
a psychological breakthrough so you are unblocked
and free to learn and so I felt sure one could,
utilizing that kind of method. Anything became more
pleasurable to learn. The ones who should
have gotten this are not the movie stars, who
are going to be on site in Paris, or down to Mexico
for a couple of weeks they’re not the ones
who should benefit from a instructional method
of this degree of power. The young people should. Michel always felt that his
approach was universal. That it could apply to more
than just a wealthy elite. In the late sixties, just a
few miles from Hollywood, this Los Angeles school put
his method to the test. If I think of a situation like
in Łódź where I had to… … a high school, in
junior high school … … with young people who
were kept in by police patrol and parent patrol. I want to demonstrate,
to show what can be done in teaching, even under the
worst of circumstances the worst conditions.
And those were the worst conditions. In South Central Los Angeles,
this school had become ungovernable. Michel offered the come in and teach. Michael Fay, a former
teacher at the school has returned for the first
time in almost 30 years. You know, Martin Luther King
spoke here at one time. Yeah… As time went by and
the conversations went on I finally agreed to
organize a class for Michel. Basically so we could
prove him wrong. That is “Ok, Michel
we’ll get you a class you can do your thing
and you’ll be sorry.” he carried on for about four weeks
and then he asked us to come in and listen to a demonstration,
which we did. We had myself, the principal
and some other people come in and sure enough
these children were somewhat proficient
in the French language. They were speaking to
each other in French, they understood what
each other was saying. It was remarkable.
Absolutely remarkable. Michel, you were right
and I was wrong. You did a fine job.
Thank you. Thomas spent the next few
years trying to get approval for his method from various
universities in the United States. They were always
very impressed but rarely gave him
the credit he felt he deserved. On the time period, whenever I
demonstrated successfully how one can learn a language in
a matter of a few days, they always said that it
cannot be replicated and this course only can be
done by Michel Thomas, but this is a question of
personality, of charisma, whatever they may
have called it. But they said this is unique
and cannot be replicated therefore it will not have
a permanent value. Michel is convinced his spectacular
results will have a lasting value because of his methodology. The unique ways
he feels he has found to break down the grammar
and structure of a language. So it is easily understood and learned. – ‘Where it is.’ ?
– “Où c’est.” Right. “Pouvez-vous
me dire où c’est?” ‘Because I cannot find it’ – “Parce que”
– ‘I cannot’ – “Peux pas”
– Once more? – “Je ne peux pas”
– ‘Find it” – ‘To find’ is …
– “Trouver” – ‘I cannot find it’ ?
– “Trouver ce” – Once more?
– “Le trouver” An example he has
prepared to share is the way he
teaches pronouns. Words that replace
things with a name. words like it, him and me. Knowing them is fundamental
to using a language properly. And being able to put them
in the right part of a sentence usually means the student has
done a great deal of hard work. It is something Michel
tackles after a few days. – ‘Can you’ ?
– “Pouvez-vous” Right! ‘To do’ in French is “Faire”. To remember “faire”,
I will say it’s a fair thing to do. It’s very fair. ‘To do’
or ‘to make’ is very fair. – “Pouvez-vous”
– ‘Come’ ? – “Venir”
– ‘See it’ ? – “Le voir”
– ‘With me’ ? “Avec moi” ‘To do it’,
“le faire” I don’t say anything,
but that “le” means ‘it’. That the pronoun comes
before the infinitive. Nothing. I just say “Faire”, ‘to do’.
“Le faire”, ‘to do it’. That’s all. Then immediately I
would go into it and say “How would you say:
‘I would like to do it.’ ?” “Je voudrais”,
‘I would like’ ‘I would like to do it’
“Je voudrais le faire” ‘I would like to know at what
time you’re going to be here, because I want to see you.’ Now “le faire” is something
which is very natural, very common
to them, yes? So they will demand to know
now the difference between ‘to do’, “faire” and
‘to do it’, “le faire”. Now I start
replacing the verb. – ‘To see’?
– “Voir” … So, if ‘to see’ is “voir”,
how would you say ‘to see it’ ? Some students… well, most of
them will immediately say “le voir” ! Some may not say
immediately “le voir”. Then I will go back to:
what is ‘to do’ ? “Faire”. And ‘to do it’ ?
They will say “Le faire”. Now I go to “voir”,
‘to see’. ‘To see it’ ?
Ah! … “Le voir” They all get it. … “Le voir” So, once more:
‘I would like to see it.’ – “Je voudrais le voir.”
– Right, “Je voudrais le voir.” “Le voir” also
means ‘to see him’. So, ‘I’m going to see him tonight.’
How would you say it? They will say:
“Je vais”, ‘I’m going’ ‘to see him’,
“le voir” … “ce soir”. So, now they know “voir”
is ‘to see’ “Le voir” is ‘to see it’ or
‘to see him’. And “la” is ‘her’.
Now I will say: How would you say
‘I would like to see her’ ? Automatically they will say
“Je voudrais la voir” – ‘To see you’ ?
– “Vous le voir” – Okay, what is…
– “Vous voir” Right. So, again.
‘I would like to see you” Once more. – “Je voudrais vous voir”
– Right, “Je voudrais vous voir” Now they can say
‘I would like to see you’ “Je voudrais vous voir” It would never occur to them to say:
‘I would like to see’ … “Je voudrais voir”, ‘you’, “vous” No. Never. They would never say
‘I would like to see’ … like in English. ‘I would like to see you’
“Je voudrais voir vous” It will never occur to them.
It cannot. It is set.
Mentally set. Clearly, solidly. It’s just all lodged up here.
I got home, and I’m sitting there and these things just popping in
my head, from the classroom that day from what have been
seeing in there all day. It sticks up here. That is, I don’t
have to remember. It’s just there. He may ask somebody
how to say this in French. One person will say it,
and you look at him as though to kind of
confirm it with him. But he won’t say anything.
He wants you to be sure within yourself whether
you’re saying it right or not. Yesterday we had to say something.
And one of us says it, and he goes like, to mean that “Do you
think that’s right?” Then he goes, and
he says the same thing…. And we all agreed
on the same thing. We were like
“Yeah, it’s that.” Then he sits there, and then
he goes “You’re right.” Did you have to make us
go through all of that torture? He commends us for
working to get it right. It takes Michel 8 months to dissect
the complete structure of a language. And find a way to teach it
so it is effortless to learn. But his unique analysis is
something he has refused to share, and he has never
written anything down. “Comprendre”,
and ‘understood’? His legacy, he decided,
was to be his tape course. The vast majority of Michel’s
students never meet him. They learn their
choice of language by listening to his voice
through headphones. Again, there’s no homework.
The tapes do it for them. Exactly how and why they work,
only Michel knows. However the tapes are never to be
listened to outside of his schools. But for this week, the students’
form teacher Gina Bach has been listening and
learning Spanish with Thomas. I love the way he breaks
the language down, and it’s built up again.
And you can… You can just see it,
you can just see the words. I can see how they
change in different tenses as according to who is speaking. I know I don’t have to worry, because
I know it’s going to come up again. And I’m sure for
the rest of my life I will hear Michel saying
some of these words. To his supporters,
his tapes are evidence enough that he has developed a teaching
technique of enormous value. I believe that Michel’s
method should be examined in a more structured fashion. I don’t think that we
need test trials of 10 years to come up with any findings
about the fact that it works. But it is very important to have
real-life trials, real-life control groups and let’s look at it. Let’s look
at it more rigorously now, so that it will get the
credibility that it’s due. It will get the diffusion in the teaching
profession that it deserves. And it will get the understanding of
all people who look at it about what learning is all about. But when the opportunity arose
for Michel to open up to an enthusiastic audience
in the University of California, he would still only give a demonstration
that his method worked. I was dean of humanities
at the time that I met Michel, and had the experience
of working with him for about 30 hours,
about 2.5 days of work. And I was entirely persuaded
at the end of these 30 hours that this was a
remarkable experience. so I was enthusiastically supportive and I exerted some modest influence
within the division of humanities where something like
80 languages are taught, and Michel came out, and we
had a meeting in the college offices, and it was a fiasco. It just really did not go well. They asked Michel… Ok, provide
us with some examples of what you do so that we can assess whether
you’re doing anything differently than we’re doing, and what is
this miraculous method. And he’s not prepared
to come up with anything. I didn’t do it in sight
of the university. Whatever I did
was independent. I did it independently.
Completely, totally independently. Then just to give it for them
to approve or to disapprove. And to depend on what they
feel they can take out of it. It’s not right. I believe Michel’s protectiveness
towards his program and his reluctance,
if you will, to sort of just spill it out there,
and get it out there in the rest of the world, is based on a realistic fear of what
a commercial entity might do or not do, both in terms of
distorting his methodology, and/or maybe even
stealing his ideas. I think that’s partially
well-founded, but he’s got to get over that,
if we’re going to have a legacy. I don’t have any reason to trust
anybody who says: Look, give me
what you have, so that we can study it, and then
we will tell you what to think about it. No. I want to show
them what is achieved. What can be done. Otherwise, our union
will encourage plagiarism, and this goes against
my principles. When you develop an idea
in the academic world, the very first thing you think of
doing is sharing it with others. If the idea has to do with
an instructional method, then you put the method
forward for evaluation by your colleagues, by those who are experienced
and knowledgeable and you can evaluate it, with the
possibility that it will be found acceptable and
then it will spread and everyone will
benefit from it. And Michel, for
whatever his motivation, has kept this method
an idea to himself. It is the end of the week,
and Margaret Thompson has been granted her wish
to watch Michel and judge the student
progress for herself. So, again… How would you say: ‘When will you arrive?’ You have a choice. “Quand allez-vous arriver?” Right. Or the… “Quand arriverez-vous?” Right! ‘It is very important for me.’ – “C’est très important”
– “C’est très important” … ‘for me’ ? – “Pour moi”
– “C’est trés important pour moi.” ‘Because I would like to see you.” – “Parce que je voudrais”
– ‘to see you’ – “Vous voir”
– Right. “Je voudrais vous voir.” – ‘I would like to know’
– “Je voudrais” – ‘To know’ ?
– “Savoir” Once more?
‘To know’ ? – “Savoir”
– Right! “Je voudrais savoir” ‘If you want’ ? – “Si vous voulez”
– Once more? – “Si vous voulez”
– Right. ‘If you want to go
see it with me.’ – “Allez” …
– The whole thing. – ‘If you want’
– “Si vous voulez” “Voulez”, ending… ? – “Vous voulez”
– E-Z Right. ‘If you want to go
see it with me.’ ? – “Si” …
– “Voir” ‘If you want’, again. – “Si” …
– “Si vous voulez” – ‘Go’ ?
– “Aller” – “Aller”, ending?
– E-R – ‘See it’ ?
– “Voir” – Once more?
– “Le voir” – “Le voir”, ‘with me’ ?
– “Avec moi” – ‘Tonight’ ?
– “Ce soir” Right. ‘At what time are you
going to be here?’ – “À quelle heure”
– ‘Are you going’ ? – ‘Are you going’ ?
– “Allez-vous” – ‘to be’ ?
– “Être” – ‘Here’ ?
– “Ici” Yes. It was very impressive.
Very impressive. I think the students
themselves said they learned in one week what
they learn in five years. And interestingly,
one of the girls said: After five years in school,
my French teacher said I think you had better give up,
because there’s no way you’re going to succeed. And here she said:
I’ve just managed it fine. I feel as if i understand it. I’m interested to know about
how you found the experience. How much you think you’ve learned.
It’s always difficult to answer that question. Very good.
Better than the teachers. Why is it better?
Why is it different? Because he explains himself.
He doesn’t make you feel lost. If you’re stuck on a word,
he will just take you right back to the beginning,
like if it’s a baby saying ABC He takes you right back. Then you accidentally click and
you know what you’re saying. You say it
in English first, then you sort
of break it down, then you think: Oh, this is how you
translate it back into the language. Then it’s easier that way.
Whereas, just in our normal classes We’re just told to say
something, I remember that. It is broken to pieces
and each piece you remember, and you use each piece
for the next sentence. It’s just really easy that way. He doesn’t throw things at you,
you know, “this is that” and “this is that”. He makes the structure into
such a way that you go by it. Once you’ve got the ingredients,
you can cook what you want. You haven’t done any
writing at all, have you? You haven’t seen
any French written at all. You’re not writing down any notes.
If you’re taking it now you’re never going to get it right.
So you have to concentrate. He’s just got patience.
He’s got all the time in the world. You can think about it,
just sit back. Think about it. It’s just coming
through your mind. Because your mind is relaxed,
and you know that he’s just said: patience. I will be patient, okay.
I will take my time and think about it. And it just comes up! The revelation is that
it’s the learning process itself that motivates these kids. The mastery of the structure. The mastery of part of the language
is the thing that keeps them going. It keeps them enthusiastic. And we lose sight of that
in the way we teach. We try, and we think
we capture their interest by finding them interesting materials
that are supposedly related to their interests outside.
In the world, generally. And maybe we missed the point,
and I think he is probably onto something
very important here. Well, I don’t want what I have created
throughout the years to just disappear
in the sand, but the value of it
to be recognized and used
wherever it can be. For that, I have to
make it available. I hope I will succeed,
before it is too late. With this program being the first
public explanation of any of his methods, Time would appear
to be running out.

About the author


  1. Oi Alan adorei o documentário e sua tradução ficou otima. Já estou até me motivando para fazer aulas de inglês. Bjs

  2. I learned Italian from 8 Michel Thomas cd's in less than 3 months while commuting a half-hour a day each way in traffic. It is totally possible. And I hope that those who hear this, will recognize and accept his last comment here in this video – his work stands, get his cd's from your library or wherever you can find them -he was a master in teaching languages, and anyone can learn easily from his methods.

  3. I learnt to speak basic French via the Michel Thomas CDs. extraordinary how effective his method is. And all on the basis of providing or setting up the correct learning environment by removing fear and stress. Bravo! Cette une methode qui est vraiment le plus efficace. Merci.

  4. This method is amazing. I couldn't concentrate in school. I got the Spanish course I am not fluent but I can hold my own in a conversation and its down to the Michel Thomas course. Its worth the money.

  5. I spent years with tapes and software and all I was able to ever learn was "yes," ""no," "I'm sorry" I remeber when I saw his CDs at the library and thought something was odd because there was no writing or booklet material in the case. I poped in the CD and was stunned when he said don't wrote anything down or memorize. I thought he had to be kidding, but in a week I was putting togther my OWN sentences, and not some prerecorded one. I now am learning Spanish to talk to my girlfriend. Michel Thomas has changed th world of learning for all of us.

  6. The differences I've noticed between traditional teachers and Michele are:
    -He is more patient
    -He always make sure to calibrate the vibe in the classroom so no one feels dumb or "less than other students"
    -He finds a way to incrementally teach every language so it logically makes sense
    -He teaches then those increments with 100% understanding and if ever something becomes even a bit unclear, he goes back to the increment that was 100% understood
    -He loves what he odes(As some teachers hate their jobs and/or lives)
    -He understands the student's mind and then guides him with his communication through the whole process without the student ever feeling lost

    Anyways. Great Documentary! I will go either through his Japanese or Spanish or both 😀 Tnx for upload

  7. I spend a lot of time in France with French friends. Michel has given me the tools to converse confidently with them! I love you Michel, my hero!!

  8. I was an "ordinary" student. Having applied the Michel Thomas techniques, in particular Pareto's law, I now have a BA and Msc. This man's teaching changed my life. As Michel Thomas says: The responsibility for your remembering rests with the teacher and not with you – not with the learner! Don't ever believe that you aren't good enough – Michel demonstrated that many of us are, in fact, the victims of poor teaching.

  9. When I moved to Amsterdam I did his Dutch course and was talking to people after just three weeks! And that was just from listening to the lessons on my cycle to work and back. I recently booked a trip to Cuba and realised I had just 10 weeks to learn Spanish. Guess which course I picked to get up to speed with Spanish in the short time before my trip …

  10. I have spent €240 on the 8 disc Spanish/French/Italian CDs and it was the best money l have ever spent,20 years later l still remember some Spanish despite never using it after completing the 8 disc course but my French is very passable as l still study two hours of his dics most days and the ltalian is dormant,to be used on a Sicily trip this year but Michel's discs do work because they make YOU construct sentences in real time and you can have complex sentences formed within a minute if you can just relax and think about them,to me MT has a method similar to lego,he provides the building blocks and you can make anything you like,he was a genius.

  11. There is nothing more wonderful as a student when you are taught by someone does teaching out of inspiration not some laid down rules. I believe that was what kept and keeps Michel Thomas students going and motivated to learn the language.

  12. How can you tell someone “they have no talent for language” if they already speak one? It’s like telling someone that plays piano that he can’t be a musician. Lol

  13. I 'm learning Spanish from this man. Truly extraordinary and efficient teaching method. I've learned a lot fast, highly recommend. R.I.P. Michel Thomas.

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