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Honorary degree citation - Hans H. (David) Stern*

By: Palmer Acheson, June 1986

Mr. Vice-Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Hans Heinrich "David" Stern, prolific and distinguished author, respected researcher, and indefatigable campaigner for language teaching of the highest quality.

Born in Kassel, in what is now West Germany, he began his university studies in Berlin and Heidelberg. As a refugee in England, he finished his bachelor's degree in languages at the University of London in 1936. After gaining his teachers's diploma, he taught French and German to high school students in Dorset. For his war service in military intelligence, he was awarded the British Empire Medal.

When the war was over, he finished his master's thesis at the University of London's Institute of Education. In 1956, he defended his doctoral thesis, on parental learning, at the same institute.

In the meantime, he had accepted a post in the Department of Education at the University of Hull. In 1961, he spent a year with the UNESCO Institute of Education in Hamburg, where he edited The International Review of Education. Returning to Hull, he threw himself wholeheartedly into the field of modern language teaching, writing numerous books and articles on this subject, and playing an important part in the British Modern Language Association. From 1964 to 1968, he taught at the University of Essex, in an innovative master's program in applied linguistics.

In 1968, Dr. Stern agreed to come to Toronto as the founding director of the Modern Language Centre at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. During his 13 years as director, he provided the leadership which helped to raise the teaching of modern languages in Canada (particularly through French-language "immersion" programs) to a level which is the envy of a great many countries. The centre which he created attracts graduate students from around the world. It has also attracted substantial research grants for the study of the many factors (linguistic, psychological, sociological and educational) involved in language learning and language teaching. It has produced curricula and materials for language teaching which put soundly-based theories into practice.

Dr. Stern's flow of carefully-crafted publications has remained constant over the past three decades. His major work, Fundamental Concepts of Language Teaching will remain the definitive text for many years to come.

Dr. Stern is now Professor Emeritus in the Department of Curriculum of OISE. For his many services to the language-teaching profession, he has been awarded an honorary doctrate by the University of Hamburg and Life Membership of the Ontario Modern Language Teachers Association. He remains an active member of the language-teaching community as the tireless Project Director of the 3-year National Core French Study. This study has important international implications for the non-intensive teaching of all modern languages.

Mr. Vice-Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, David Stern, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased

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