The Teaching of French in Secondary Schools

William B. Snow
1904 The School Review  
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more » ... out Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. THE TEACHING OF FRENCH IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS. THE discussion of modern-language teaching which for two decades has been carried on across the water with such intenseness has failed to arouse a corresponding interest on this side of the Atlantic. The demand for greater attention to physical science has met with general approval and ready response; new courses have been introduced, old ones lengthened, laboratories built and filled with costly apparatus, additional teachers employed. What recognition, meanwhile, has been given the modern-language movement, of which J. J. Findlay, says: Quite deliberately the present author ventures to assert that the " reform" in modern language teaching now in progress is one of the most noteworthy events in the sphere of teaching since the Renaissance, surpassing in importance even the results of introducing science to the schools. What share have American authors in the 720 tlheoretischen Eroirterungen catalogued by Breymann" for the eighteen years from 1881 to 1898 inclusive? Hardly more than the odd twenty. The reason for this comparative neglect of modern language instruction lies largely in our remoteness from non-Englishspeaking peoples. Hence ability to read the foreign language has been our almost exclusive aim, and ability to read has come to mean merely the ability to turn into more or less slovenly English an approximation to the thought of the original. So remote even is the required approximation that clever boys have been known to "cram" French enough in six weeks to pass the entrance examination for reputable colleges. Naturally, then, some have considered a single year long enough to allow for so easy a subject. Such conditions tend to perpetuate themselves, for teachers thus trained cannot in general impart what they do not possess, that is, an all-around command of a foreign language, and a broad view of what it should stand for in education. 'Principles -of Class Teaching (Macmillan & Co.). 2 H. BREYMANN, Die neusprackhliche Reform-Literatur (Leipzig: G. Bohme, 1895 and 1900oo). 502 Modern-language teachers in this country need to awake, to discuss, to organize, to make known the difference between good work and poor, to demand what we must have in order to do the former. We must show plainly that French, properly studied, is neither easy or superficial, nor lacking, as an educational subject, in either discipline or culture. And we must likewise emphasize that to teach it in this way takes time and that the French-intwenty-lessons charlatans have no place among educators.
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