Classical and modern foreign languages in American secondary schools and colleges--an historical analysis
Aronson, Jack Lewis
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This study traces the decline of classical languages in secondary and higher education. It investigates the factors that contributed to the rise and fall of modern foreign languages in the curriculum of American schools. Particular attention is focused upon two time periods, 1870-1915, and circa 1960-1972. Specifically, the study examines the rationale advanced for the inclusion of modern foreign languages into the regular program of studies; the impact of economic, professional, and social forces upon the decline of the classical languages; the confrontation and conflict between the modern foreign languages and the classical languages; and the parallels between the situation faced by the classical languages during the period 1870-1915, and the one confronting the modern languages today. Characteristics of American education during the, colonial period are traced, and the impact of classical education in the colonies is delineated. Methods, texts, teacher preparation and community influence are discussed. In addition, language curricula from the end of the colonial era to 1870 and factors contributing to assaults upon the classical languages are outlined. The confrontation between the proponents of the classics and the modern foreign languages is treated in greater detail, and the appearance of modern foreign languages during 1870-1895 is traced. The crisis confronting classical education during the 1895-1905 period is studied in depth; the decline of Latin and the essential demise of Greek and innovations in classical education are considered. Factors impeding and contributing to the rise of modern foreign languages are analyzed. General socio-cultural influence affecting the status of classical education are examined. Finally, the similarity between the situation confronting classical languages or an earlier period and that faced by modern languages today are discussed with particular attention directed to the parallels between the two periods and implications for the future place or languages in the curriculum.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University