Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Prof. Elka Todeva


Cuisenaire Rods are pedagogical and relational instruments with great potential for exploring the way a language works. With their flexibility and simplicity, they allow the students to focus on the process of learning; helping them notice patterns, make associations, and engage in a social and personal relation with the language and deepening their awareness of themselves as learners. The Cuisenaire Rods’ potential for creating simplicity within complexity enables a way of working with language that engages the playful and creative powers of the users. In the introductory part of the paper, the author explores Caleb Gattegno’s approach to learning and discusses the reasons why the Silent Way matters. In the following section, she asks questions about what learning a new language involves, and draws on the concept of Synesthesia to explore how Cuisenaire Rods link together the visual, the sensory, the linguistic, and the tactile to better facilitate learning. Finally, the author describes a series of lessons in which she explores different ways of utilizing Cuisenaire rods in her classroom with two groups of university level English language learners in Istanbul, Turkey, all native speakers of Turkish. The thesis includes lesson descriptions, personal reflections, feedback from students, and further suggestions for using Cuisenaire Rods in the language classroom.


Curriculum and Instruction | First and Second Language Acquisition | Higher Education and Teaching