Teaching Languages to Young Learners: Patterns of History

Timeline created by eriiiiiiick
In History
  • 1500

    The shift away from Latin to the vernacular languages.

    Scholars like Erasmus, Vives and other humanists inspired an interest in the classical languages, thanks to the cultural achievements of the renaissance. Grammar education became public in England, and pupils were not allowed to study if they were not literate in Latin, which was mandatory at the time. thanks to this grammar renaissance, vernacular languages became popular since they were used by the majority of people, and the usage of Latin was relegated to a subsidiary role.
  • 1582

    First part of the elementaire

    Teacher Richard Mulcaster is regarded as one of the earliest vernacular champions since he spoke about the use of English in his first part of the elementaire
  • Some thoughts concerning education

    John Locke wrote this essay mentioning some things that he saw regarding the school system of the time. He points out that he found really strange how it was more important to speak and write Latin rather than English, which was most of England´s mother tongue. He also mentions that the language order was wrong, since you have to learn you mother tongue first, before going to other language, and he suggested the change to study first English, and then a foreign language.
  • The learning of dead languages

    Daniel Duncan wrote a plea in this era to mentions his feelings and thoughts about the teaching and learning of Latin, in which he mentions that learning this language was a joke, and that not even the founding father wanted to learn, and also mentions that he would like for the society to change in which the study of their actual mother tongue became the norm.
  • Object Lesson

    One of Rousseau´s successors, known as Pestalozzi, developed this procedure in which they would use an object and they would describe its qualities. This was extremely popular with children, since they could choose anything that caught their eyes to use, describe, and learn, which was the methodology of this procedure.
  • Natural Method

    Gottlieb Hanes, a follower of Pestallozzi, expanded on the object lesson by creating a small experiment by teaching German as a foreign language to children of the staff of Yale university. He used different objects and tried to make conversation with those object, and here, he completely avoided using the mother tongue. This method worked and the style was known as "natural method", which became the basis for what we now know as "direct method", this was implemented in Berlitz on 1878.
  • The early start of foreign language teaching

    Traditional scholars from the private sector, wanted to have an early start in the teaching of a foreign language, thanks to the previous works of intellectuals, the mother tongue was the only requirement to enter an institution, and they wanted to make the study of a foreign language to start as soon as possible, from age 8, and some people wanted a "late-start, since that would improve the mother tongue. However, on 1916, Stanley Leathes, introduced the study to all public elementary schools.
  • The best suited for language aquisition

    Following the debacle of the perfect time to introduce a foreign language, many studies were done, but it wasn't until 1953, were the psychologist William Penfield, discovered that, after many years of research, that pre-adolescent children were the best suited to learn a new language, since they had the brain plasticity, they were not afraid of learning something new, and they seemed interested in the new ability to convey information in a new language.
  • Language for the gifted

    Foreign language learning was reserved for "gifted" individuals, this adolescents had to pass the grammar test of their mother tongues to be accepted in any course of a foreign language, and this was to make sure that they had a vast knowledge of their mother tongue to facilitate the learning process of a foreign language. However, this did not seem to be a good idea, since this program was advertised with the notion that only smart children were capable of learning a new language.
  • Period: to

    Wolgang Ratke: The First German Mother tongue school

    in 1620, Ratke opened the first German mother tongue school, and in 1626, written on his methodus4, he spoke about a natural sequence regarding language in which humans acquire language thanks to a natural sequence. and on 1630, he wrote "Great didactic", in which he mentions that having a strong focus on linguistic forms can cause serious educational damage since the mother tongue has to be learned rather than thought, as he points out.
  • Period: to

    Two Heavyweight views

    On 1761 Joseph Priestley mentions that the study of a mother tongue has to be obligatory and that it cannot be disputed because that´s what the people needed.
    And on 1762 Robert Lowth wrote "short introduction to English grammar" to serve as a guide to beginner teacher to start and teach the English grammar.
    Coincidentally, that same year Rousseau wrote "emile" which was a novel in which a kid received special education, were he learns on his own pace, and internal development matters a lot.