Celebrity road to fluency

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Pupils should aspire to learn like Mel Gibson, according to an educational psychologist.

Jonathan Solity, of University College London, has written a book, The Learning Revolution, which examines the language-learning method of Michel Thomas, best known for coaching Hollywood stars Grace Kelly, Woody Allen and Mel Gibson.

Dr Solity believes Mr Thomas's method, which aims to teach pupils a new language the way they learnt their mother tongue, should be adopted in British schools.

Instead of using sentences, it provides pupils with basic structures such as "it is possible" or "I want". As their vocabulary expands, they tie these together, and they only learn to write a phrase after they have mastered using it in speech.

"You teach children for half an hour every day, you have whole-class teaching, and there's no homework," said Dr Solity. "It means a different kind of dialogue and contract with pupils. It would work not only with languages, but also with any subject in school."

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