A History of ELT, Second Edition

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A History of ELT, Second Edition

Format: Paperback

A history of English Language Teaching that takes the reader from the Renaissance to the present day.

The book covers all the important phases of the history from a global perspective. It has been brought up-to-date with three new chapters, including a final chapter by Henry Widdowson.

  • ISBN: 978-0-19-442185-0
  • Pages: 440
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Dimensions: 234x156 mm

Key features

  • Substantially revised and updated.
  • New Introduction.
  • New sections on the British Empire, and 1970-present day.


The series attracts single or co-authored volumes from authors researching at the cutting edge of this dynamic field of interdisciplinary enquiry. The titles range from books that make such developments accessible to the non-specialist reader to those which explore in depth their relevance for the way language is to be conceived as a subject, and how courses and classroom activities are to be designed. As such, these books not only extend the field of applied linguistics itself and lend an additional significance to its enquiries, but also provide an indispensable professional foundation for language pedagogy and its practice.

The scope of the series includes:
  • second language acquisition
  • bilingualism and multi/plurilingualism
  • language pedagogy and teacher education
  • testing and assessment
  • language planning and policy
  • language internationalization
  • technology-mediated communication
  • discourse-, conversation-, and contrastive-analysis
  • pragmatics
  • stylistics
  • lexicography
  • translation


List of illustrations
Note on spelling
Note on terminology
Preface to the second edition


Part One: 1400-1800

Section 1: Practical language teaching

1 The early years

2 'Refugiate in a strange country': the refugee language teachers in Elizabethan London

3 Towards 'the great and common world'

4 Guy Miège and the second Huguenot exile

5 The spread of English language teaching in Europe

Section 2: On 'fixing' the language

6 An overview: 1550-1800

7 Two proposals for orthographical reform in the 1500s
The work of John Hart, Chester Herald
Richard Mulcaster's Elementarie

8 Two pedagogical grammars of English for foreign learners
Ben Jonson's English Grammar
John Wallis's Grammatica Linguae Anglicanae

9 'Things, words and notions'

10 The language 'fixed'
Latin schools and English schools
Swift's proposal for a British Academy
Towards Standard English

Part Two: 1800-1900


English language teaching in the Empire
English language teaching in Europe

Section 1: English language teaching in the Empire

11 Teaching English overseas: similarities and contrasts
Reports on specific territories
Teaching English in India

Section 2: English language teaching in Europe

12 The grammar-translation method
The origins of the method
Language teaching in schools: some Anglo-German contrasts
Language learning by adults: the 'practical approach' of Ahn and Ollendorff

13 Individual reformers
'All is in all': Jean Joseph Jacotot
The Rational Method of Claude Marcel
Thomas Prendergast's 'Mastery System'
François Gouin and the 'Series'

14 The Reform Movement
The scope of the Movement
The principles of reform
The Klinghardt experiment
The role of phonetics
The work of Henry Sweet: an applied linguistic approach

15 'Natural methods of language teaching' from Montaigne to Berlitz
Learning a language through 'constant conversation'
Rousseau and Pestalozzi
The origins of the Direct Method

Part Three: 1900 to the present day

Section 1: English language teaching since 1900: the making of a profession

16 The teaching of English as a foreign or second language: a survey
Phase 1 1900-46: Laying the foundations
Phase 2 1946-70: Consolidation and renewal
Phase 3 1970 to the present day: Language and communication

Section 2 Aspects of English language teaching since 1900

17 Harold Palmer and the teaching of spoken language
Palmer's life and work
Palmer's methodology

18 Choosing the right words
Michael West and the teaching of reading
The Basic issue
Carnegie and after

19 Old patterns and new directions
The establishment of ELT and the post-war consensus
A.S. Hornby and the teaching of structural patterns
The early impact of applied linguistics (1941-60)
The end of the Empire
New directions in language teaching in the 1960s

20 The notion of communication
The communicative approach
Communication and language learning
The Threshold Level Project
English for Special/Specific Purposes (ESP)
The Bangalore Project

21 A perspective on recent trends
by H. G. Widdowson

A chronology of English language teaching




  • '..It's a stunning read...If I were pressed to draw up a list of ten ELT titles with which to spend a year on a desert island this one would easily some into my top three.'
    - Wayne Trotman, EL Gazette, January 2005
  • 'The volume remains the single most authoritative and comprehensive account of the history of English language teaching, and will surely continue to serve as a prime source for the profession for many years to come...This is a work of considerable research and scholarship characterized by rigour and balance, comprehensive yet uncluttered.'
    - Rani Rubdy, Director of Graduate Programmes, Institute for English Language Education, Assumption University, Bangkok.
  • 'I found this book extremely readable...This book is fascinating, packed with human interest stories about the people who shaped our profession, while at the same time giving a clear explanation of the theoretical perspectives that inspired them.'
    - IATEFL Issues, February/March 2005
  • 'To sum up, this fine book should be required reading for all members of the profession, if by profession, we include all the personages and movements that have made us what we are.'
    - BAAL Reviews, 2005

Part of... Oxford Applied Linguistics

Home to the most innovative studies in its field, the Oxford Applied Linguistics series furthers research in English teaching and learning, and provides strong foundations for language pedagogy.

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