History of Berlitz company.
Maximilian Berlitz grew up in the German region of The Black Forest – he came from a family of teachers and mathematicians. In the year 1870 he emigrated to The USA. Here Maximilian, as a language enthusiast, taught Greek, Latin and 6 other European languages. He used the same strict traditional method with a focus on grammar and translation.
After some time of successful private teaching, he joined the Werner technical university in Providence where he became a professor of French and German. The eminence of this high school was, however, far from satisfying. Berlitz quickly became the owner, the dean, a senior teacher and a member of the faculty.
As he needed help to teach French, Berlitz hired a young French man called Joly who came with the best references. When Joly arrived in Providence, he found out that his employer was exhausted, suffered from fever and was very ill. This situation was made even worse thereafter when Berlitz found out that his new assistant wasn’t able to speak a word of English. Berlitz desperately tried to find a way to use Joly for his pedagogical practise and so taught him to describe objects with the help of gestures and express words best. After that he again returned to his bed.
The birth of the Berlitz Method®
When, about 6 weeks later, he showed up in his classroom, a group of desperate students was waiting for him. Instead, he caught them up in very lively exchange of questions and answers in an elegant French pronunciation. The usual and long-time atmosphere of the traditional classroom is gone. His students also improved a lot more than they would have with Berlitz in the same time period. Berlitz came to the conclusion: this ‘’emergency solution’’ became the full foundation of the new learning methods. This strict teaching method had to retreat to the exciting process of discovery.
Changing the world
Already from the establishment of the company in the year 1878, Berlitz generally focused on travellers and private people. In 50 years however, the requirements of customers changed. Berlitz as a company found itself facing a growing number of business people, experts and technicians who were preparing for work abroad and who needed language skills for their new work. Large companies started to order courses for their employees and also their families – and they all needed to learn very quickly.
The Berlitz Company created a new program and started its operations with traditional language learning. After many years, a challenge came with a sensational novelty: with the learning program Total Immersion. Total Immersion was an extremely quick method of passing on language skills, serving, for example, business people who are going to work abroad.
This quicker pace of learning which students required, also led the Berlitz Company to develop a new application of this basic learning method. It has also been the case for introducing other auxiliary material, for example for the need for training vocabulary and pronunciation. That was the progress which students of the Berlitz Company still enjoy to today.
The Berlitz language centre in Prague was established in the year 1898.