Today Berlitz. Tomorrow the World.

The Berlitz Tradition

An assistent teaching French without a single word of English.

Maximilian Berlitz grew up in the Black Forest region of Germany, the son of a family of teachers and mathematicians. He emigrated to the United States in 1870. An avid linguist, Maximilian taught Greek, Latin and six other European languages there, using the strict traditional "grammar-translation" method.

After having successfully taught as a private tutor for a while, he joined the Warner Polytechnic College in Providence (Rhode Island) where he became Professor of French and German. However, the college was not as impressive as its name - Berlitz was soon the owner, dean, head teacher and the only member of the faculty!

... creating a groundbreaking method

As he needed an assistant for French, Berlitz employed a young Frenchman named Joly. When Joly arrived in Providence, Berlitz found out that his new assistant did not speak a single word of English. Desperately trying to find a way to use Joly in his teaching, Berlitz instructed him to explain objects using gestures and to act out verbs as well as he could.

Six weeks later, Berlitz found his students engaging in an animated exchange of questions and answers - in elegant French! The normal venerable atmosphere of a traditional classroom had disappeared, and his students were much further ahead in terms of what they had learned than Berlitz would have achieved in the same period of time.

With the strict learning method giving way to an animated process of discovery, the Berlitz Method® was born.



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