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Modern languages as emerging curricular subjects in England, 1864-1918

McGill University
Publication Date
  • Languages
  • Modern -- Study And Teaching -- England -- History
  • Education -- England -- Curricula -- History
  • Education


This thesis deals with the curricular development of modern languages in the schools of England between 1864 and 1918. At the beginning of the period, modern languages were fringe curricular subjects; by the end of the period, they had achieved full curricular status in the secondary schools. The vehicles for investigating the curricular development of modern languages are the reports of the Royal Commissions and Board of Education. This thesis shows that modern languages became an integral part of the liberal curriculum and hence were taught chiefly in the secondary schools as instruments of cultural and mental formation for the upper and middle classes. Their definition as secondary school subjects was due largely to their promotion as liberal subjects by the Royal Commisions and Board of Education. The elitist views expressed in these reports were highly influential in determining the curricular status of modern languages, and the aims, methods, and content of their teaching.

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