Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Teaching Foreign Languages

Luton Modern School c.1910 [Z1306/75/2/3]

Wednesday 10th July 1918: The Governors of the Luton Modern School and Technical Institution held a meeting yesterday afternoon at the Town Hall, at which one matter under discussion was the teaching of modern languages,. Until now the first language studied by pupils at the school has been Latin or German, and many pupils without sufficient aptitude were learning two languages. After considering a Government Committee report on the issue a committee appointed to look at the matter made this recommendation to the governors: “As from the Autumn Term, 1918, French shall be the first foreign language taken in the Luton Modern School … for a second foreign language the pupil shall have the choice of German or Latin, but, as a general rule, a second language cannot be taken before entering Form III, and only then on showing aptitude for languages, and provided the pupil is remaining at school for at least a further two years”.

Alderman Williams argued that the current policy of taking German first and following on with either French or Latin, learning two languages simultaneously, had not been as successful as they hoped. The Headmaster thought it would be better if pupils were allowed to thoroughly master one language before learning a second. He regretted the loss of German as a first language due to its commercial benefits, but recognised that it over all it would be better to start with French. Councillor Primett suggested that there was a need to teach Spanish as there were good business openings in South America. After concluding the discussion, the governors agreed to adopt the recommendations in the report.

Source: Luton News, 11th July 1918

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