Michel Thomas (born Moniek (Moshe) Kroskof, February 3, 1914 – January 8, 2005 in Lodz, Poland) was a polyglot linguist, language teacher, and decorated war veteran. After emigrating to America after WW2 he developed a language-teaching system known as the ‘Michel Thomas Method’. His audio language courses are bestsellers, and highly rated. I haven’t tried using any of his audio courses, but I have recently purchased his Germand CD course, so hopefully I’ll find it helpful, when i get round to listening to it.
I’ve read a bit about him and he was a fascinating character, and you can’t help but admire him. If you want to learn a foreign language from scratch, then this guy’s methods are worth investigating.
While I’m interested in learning foreign languages, I’m even more interested in what is the best method to learn them, and learning techniques in general - hence my curiosity with Michel Thomas. I also recently purchased a second hand book Michel Thomas: The Learning Revolution by Dr Jonathan Solity, which claims to reveal the secrets of his methods – so hopefully I’ll find out about his techniques, and how they actually work. I’ve only just started reading it, and in the introduction it mentions a BBC documentary Michel Thomas made in 1997 - ’The Language Master’, which I found on YouTube. It follows Michel teaching a number of students from Islington Sixth Form College North London, all of whom had given up learning foreign languages - see videos below.
Michel Thomas’s methods were not well recieved by the established education community – which doesn’t surprise me. Even today (even though his audio courses are hugely popular) his method is still largely ignored by education establishments.
It’s an interesting documentary, and hopefully his method will one day get greater recognition. The fact is, current foreign language teaching techniques are rather poor (in the UK at least) – which no doubt is partly responsible for the wholesale decline in foreign language study in schools and higher education. For example, in 2001, almost all pupils in Scotland studied a language up to fourth year of secondary school – but by 2010 this had dropped to 67%.
I follow various Polyglots / language learners online such as Benny Lewis, Luca Lampariello, Richard Simcott and many more. The fact is you can learn a hell of a lot more about learning foreign languages, and learning techniques in general from such people, than you will from the education establishment – who sadly are far too closed minded.
I hope you enjoy the BBC documentary……. if you know of any good language learning documentaries online then let me know.