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New Methods of Teaching Modern Languages: Methods of Language Teaching

by Leopold Bahlsen 1903

The question of methods has doubtless occupied the attention of teachers as long as language teaching itself has existed. There was a time, however, when there was no dispute regarding those questions which are to-day the most generally discussed; when each language teacher, apart from the immaterial peculiarities of his own individuality; pursued the same course. Here we are interested merely in foreign language teaching; and in our discussion we must begin at a point before civilized people, in the accepted meaning of the word, inhabited North America. There was then in the Old World but one foreign language in the schools, Latin. It was not until later that Greek was added; not until the destruction of Constantinople by the Turks (1453) that highly educated Greeks fled toward the West, taking with them their language and the remains of their art. Latin was the language of the educated, of the learned. Whoever would rise to higher refinement, whoever would enjoy the beauties of the classics, was obliged to study the dead languages, there was no other possibility. And here the purpose, the goal, indicated at once and in a perfectly natural manner the way to be followed and not only the way, but also the means of making the start in this way. Students wished to understand the classics. Without further ado they took up directly the various authors and began to decipher them, gradually becoming at home in the language.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 4 Number 3, 1903, p. 161-179
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 9773, Date Accessed: 7/23/2018 9:53:12 AM

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  • Leopold Bahlsen

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