How Language Teaching Started Afresh: Origins and Repercussions of the Reform Movement in German Foreign Language Teaching Curricula

  • Sabine Doff


This paper critically examines the origins and repercussions of the Reform Movement of teaching modern languages (Neusprachliche Reformbewegung) at the end of the 19th century which is generally considered the last thorough and extensive reorientation of language teaching in continental Europe. Focussing on Prussia which then served as a progressive example for many other German states it investigates on which basis, for which reasons and how such a substantial reform could succeed at this very time and by doing so argues for a close examination of the context of (curricular) innovations which have considerably influenced the selection, organisation and evaluation of knowledge and learning objectives in continental foreign language education up to the present day.