In the late 19th century, the teaching of English in France took four distinctive patterns based on social and gendered divisions. First, the early and prolonged teaching of English was characteristic of bourgeois or aristocratic lifestyles in which women were instrumental in the family’s educational investments. A second, more practical and commercial teaching of English, thought of as a vehicular language, varied according to whether it was aimed for free-market men of action or for their subordinates, who were often women. Then English teaching in bourgeois lycées occupied an intermediary and contradictory position: economic pressure groups advocated a practical definition of English and bourgeois parents whose model promoted early family transmission. Finally, the primary function of academic literary teaching was to certify and legitimate English teachers in secondary education.
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