Opening talk by Richard Smith at University of Milan 11 April 2016 symposium on 'Insegnamento delle lingue straniere in Italia tra passato e presente (1970-2015)' [Teaching foreign languages in Italy between past and present (1970-2015)]
Powerpoint slides (please be patient - many pics. & slow to download)
Summary: First I consider the background of this symposium in recent research work to bring together histories of the teaching of different languages in different European countries. I also consider the value of history to practitioners -- teacher educators, teachers themselves, and student-teachers -- particularly with respect to the way it can provide deeper perspectives on current issues. The history of relatively recent times can be of particular value in providing such perspectives, but there are also specific difficulties in attempting such history, as well as particular affordances. I shall illustrate these points, and exemplify brief guidance about doing 'good history', with reference to some recent research, e.g. into biographical sources of the influential European work of John Trim (1924-2013).