Konrad Koerner, a leading historian of linguistics, has long said that an academic field cannot be considered to have matured until it has history as one of its subfields. The history of linguistics is a growing area, having come into its own in the 1960s, especially after Noam Chomsky looked for historical roots for his work. In contrast, the history of language teaching has been neglected, reflecting the insecurity and youth of the field. Most works on the subject have been written by linguists for other linguists, and typically focus on a specific period or aspect of history. This volume concentrates on the basic issues, events, and threads of the history of the field - from Mesopotamia to the present - showing how a knowledge of this history can inform the practice of language teaching in the present.
"this book is a very useful addition to the literature on second-language teaching, as it goes a long way to fulfilling the goals Wheeler set out for himself in the introduction. It shows that the development of language was not linear, and presents history as a place where a teacher can trawl. It tactifully implies that a teacher attracted by certain techniques of the past should assess how they fit his own capabilities."- L.G. Kelly, Darwin College, University of Cambridge, Language and History, Vol. 57, No.1, May 2014, 96-106
Introduction: Why Study the History of Language Teaching? Part I: In the Beginning 1. In the Beginning? 2. Mesopotamia: The First Records 3. Egypt: The Effect of Language Change 4. The Greeks: The Foundations of Western Education 5. The Romans: Refining the System 6. The Middle Ages: A Few Bright Spots Part II: The Early Modern World 7. William Lily's Famous Grammar 8. Erasmus’s Ideas on Education 9. Roger Ascham and His Double Translation Technique 10. Claudius Holyband: "A Frenchman Which Doth His Dutie" 11. Michel de Montaigne: The Last Native Speaker of Latin? 12. John Brinsley’s Advice to Teachers 13. Eilhard Lubinus: A Call for Change 14. Jan Comenius Creates a Full-Scale Science of Education 15. The Port-Royal Community 16. John Wilkins and His Rational Language 17. John Locke: Who Needs Latin? 18. César Chesneau du Marsais, Philosophy, and Grammar 19. Robert Lowth’s Prescriptivist Grammar 20. Lindley Murray: "The Father of English Grammar" 21. The Grammar-Translation Method: It’s Not What You Think 22. Two Diversions: Prendergast and Gouin 23. Esperanto: A Successful Created Language 24. Natural Methods: Learning Like Children Part III: Modern Times 25. The Reform Movement: The Start of Modern Times 26. Two Reports on the State of Language Teaching 27. Harold Palmer: A Modern Teacher 28. The Controversy of Basic English 29. World War II and the "Army Specialized Training Program" 30. After the War 31. The 1970s and Beyond 32. Conclusion