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Joyous Lessons: Learning Languages the Charlotte Mason Way - Volume 1 and Francois Gouin (Part 1) "There is hardly another civilised nation so dull in acquiring foreign tongues as we English of the present time; but, probably, the fault lies rather in the way we set about the study than in any natural incapacity for languages." (Mason, Home Education, p. 301) "Let us state it as impressively as we can: the incapacity of the child is the incapacity of the teacher and the defectiveness of the method. To learn to speak no matter what language is a thing as natural and easy to a child as learning to fly is to a bird. For ourselves, however serious may seem the engagement, we would undertake to make ourselves responsible and to guarantee the development and real progress in a foreign language of any child, however backward, who 'loves a game and knows how to play.'" (Gouin, The Art of Teaching and Studying Language, p. 128-9) We are getting ready to start our new school year next week, and I'm also going through the last few sections of Volume 1 of Home Education. So why the change?
Joyous Lessons: Learning Languages the Charlotte Mason Way - Parents' Review, Programmes, and Miss Mason Herself (Part 2) In Part 1, I went through Francois Gouin's suggestions regarding foreign language study. As we know from the programmes, Miss Mason did use his series in her schools, and she approved of many of his methods--particularly in the ways they took a sharp detour from the contemporary approach. Just to touch on a few points from my last post, I think we can take from Gouin some basic principles of language study for young children; for example, :: an emphasis on listening and speaking before reading and writing :: the use of copywork and recitation to cement knowledge :: the use of narration and visual memory to assimilate the language :: learning in the context of sentences and series of sentences rather than simple words :: the delay of grammatical explanations and rules :: the importance of accent and conversational ability "A slight amount of gesture and action will help to give life and stimulate imagination, but to go through the whole series of actions is apt to make the lesson ridiculous.