The History of Language Learning and Teaching

Nicola McLelland and Richard Smith. The history of language learning and teaching. 3 volumes. Cambridge : MHRA, 2018. 214 p. – 330 p. – 298 p. ISBN : 978-1-781886-98-4 (vol 1) / 978-1-781886-99-1 (vol 2) / 978-1-781887-00-4 (vol 3).

This three-volume set brings together current research in the history of language learning and teaching (HoLLT) in Europe and beyond. Providing the first overview of research in the field, it will be an indispensable reference for teachers, teacher educators and all those interested in the history of language learning and teaching and the history of applied linguistics avant la lettre.

Volume I: 16th-18th Century Europe;
Volume II: 19th-20th Century Europe
Volume III: Across Cultures

Volume I presents the history of how languages were learnt and taught across Europe, from Russia and Scandinavia to the Iberian peninsula, up to about 1800. Case studies deal with the teaching and learning of French, Italian, German and Portuguese, as well as Latin, still the first ‘foreign language’ for many learners in this period.

The chapters in Volume II present case studies from the period when modern languages became established in school curricula across Europe and when modern language teaching became professionalized. The chapters consider 19th-century innovations in Europe including the Reform Movement and its precursors, as well as developments in policy and practice in the 20th century.

Part I of Volume III (The Place of Culture in Language Teaching) examines the history of how ‘foreign cultures’ have been presented to learners in language classrooms and language materials. Part II (Beyond Europe) presents studies of the history of language learning and teaching beyond Europe, including the Middle East, China, Japan, India and New Zealand.

See editor’s website :

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