The Principle of Anticipation requires you to “anticipate” a correct answer.
Practically, what this means is that you must think about the situation and retrieve the answer from your own memory before it is confirmed in the lesson. It works as follows: The lesson will pose a challenge—perhaps by asking you, in the new language: “Are you going to the movies today?” There will be a pause, and, drawing on information given previously, you will say: “No, I went yesterday.” The instructor will then confirm your answer: “No, I went yesterday.”
Before Dr. Pimsleur created his unique self–instructional teaching method, the attempt to teach spoken language was based instead on the principle of rote repetition, rote repetition, and then more rote repetition! Teachers drummed words into the students’ minds over and over, as if the mind were a record whose grooves wore deeper with repetition. However, neurophysiologists tell us that, on the contrary, simple and unchallenging repetition has a hypnotic, even dulling effect on the learning. Eventually, the words being repeated as rote practice will lose their meaning. Dr. Pimsleur discovered that learning only takes place when there is a meaningful “input/output” system of interaction between learners and native speakers of the language, in which students receive genuine information and then are asked to retrieve and use it in meaningful exchanges between individuals involved in real–life or simulated spoken communication.
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