In this paper we refer to an innovative pedagogic movement in the teaching and learning of foreign languages in Spain at the beginning of the 20 th century. It might be considered as a clear precedent of the communicative approach. Within the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, José Castillejo y Duarte proclaimed the need to learn several foreign languages within an international educational context. ... [Show full abstract] He was the founder of the Spanish International School, in which these innovative ideas were put into practice. It is wondered what would have happened if this interesting experiment hadn't been abruptly finished with the onset of the Spanish Civil War.