Visible & Tangible Learning

img_20170212_175430The Silent Way material is made in such a way that it facilitates visible and tangible situations. If used well, those props aim at creating mental imaging. Without the Silent Way material, one can also create such situations, for instance by miming or using gestures.

As Caleb Gattegno used to say: “Living a life is changing time into experience”. Young and Messum explain that when “I am present to what I do and this is contributing to my experience, it can be retained”. We differentiate the concept of “memory” and “retention” to observe how things are learnt. In addition, the contribution of “sleep” to learning is another important point to consider.
Caleb Gattegno described that memories can be retained without any conscience attempt or effort. He also described two aspects of retention namely recognition and evocation. I can recognize something I have seen before and I can recall something using mental imaging. Now memorization, for him, is different as it involves an arbitrary information such as a person’s name. Memorizing is prone to forgetting. Therefore the difference is important between the two processes: retention is an attribute of the mind, it’s natural and is the true source of memory whereas memorization is a forced device to obtain retention in the case of arbitrary associations. (Young & Messum, 2011 : 161). Learning is based on retention.


Young, R. & Messum, P. (2011) How We Learn and How We Should be Taught, Duo Flumina, London. pp 204.