Good reasons to visit Italy… good reason to learn Italian
If someone asked me why they should visit Italy… I would say that there are so many good reasons. I would even recommend that they spend some time over there and speak Italian in order to have a better understanding of Italian culture, traditions and people, of course. As a picture says much more than thousands words, let’s enjoy these very eloquently photos, just to get a sense of what we are talking about.
Why are so many people in Cork learning Italian?
Wonderful pictures, aren’t they? But now let’s see why people in Cork take up Italian. I run a quick survey at every Beginners course we start (in order to tailor our class to our students needs), so we do have a fair idea about why Cork people study Italian… Do you have any ideas yourselves? You probably guessed it right. The main reason is that they like going to Italy for their holidays, they love the culture, the food and Italian places. Many people take up Italian because they like the sound of this language and they would like to go to Italy, too. Some of my students start learning Italian because they have Italian origins and others have to because of their job. A good few do it because their loved ones are Italian… and among them is my husband! As they say… one for everybody in the audience.
Who is learning Italian?
There are Italian learners of all ages, nationalities and cultural backgrounds here in Cork. In fact, learning a language has been scientifically proved to be one of the best ways to keep illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases at bay. This is because our neurons have to work in a different way to learn and speak a new language and they have to build new neural networks. On the other hand, we have very young learners (not here in the College of Commerce, though). In fact, quite a few parents want their children to learn a language as this is the best way to turbocharge their brain. Bilingual or multilingual children have more neural connections between the right and the left part of their brain, they develop a positive attitude towards languages and they have fun learning without any effort… so it’s a win win!
Why is the College of Commerce the best place to learn Italian in Cork?
There are many reasons, but I would say that the most important is that, in our courses, we implement the Italian we are learning immediately from day one… we, in fact, use our Italian in real life situation role playing and this is engaging, fun and above all useful. Many students come to our classes as they want ‘to speak’. There is no point in learning lots of grammar and vocabulary and doing lots of homework if we do not speak the language we are learning.
For these reasons classes take a great deal of preparation, props, flash cards and the like, but having a masters degree in Educational sciences and many years of experience in both Italy and Ireland helps quite a lot… To be an effective teacher takes much more than just being a native speaker. The teacher must also be a trained, experienced and dedicated person to be truly effective. Which, luckily, I am 😉
We also take a great advantage of our dedicated language room with special language programs and headsets on every student’s computer to work harder on our listening skills, especially with our Continuation and Intermediate groups.
Very importantly, we do not leave any students behind. Students who cannot attend a lesson (and those who do) receive an email after class with notes, pdfs of the pages handed out and homework… it takes a bit of time, but it makes a big difference and ensures that students always have all the materials they need to keep up even if life has conspired to make them miss a class.
A few weeks before starting our courses, students receive an email with the programme for the courses they may like to attend and some advice regarding the best choice for them. We have four courses now and sometimes students are unsure of their level or their ability to go to the next step.
The programmes for the 4 courses are available online and, as we don’t want anyone to get bored, the programmes change every semester.
It seems that our students have appreciated our work so far. I started teaching Italian in the College of Commerce in September 2009 to a single Beginners class… the year after I had a Beginners and a Continuation class, the following year I had 3 classes: Beginners, Continuation and Intermediate and a couple of years ago we finally added the Advanced course. This progression means that you can go from absolute beginner to fluent all right here at the College.
What do students achieve attending the Beginners course in the College of Commerce?
As we were previously saying, students are implementing their new learned sentences in real life situations and role playing them immediately. Therefore, they will be able to place an order at the restaurant, to book a room and to talk about themselves after a few weeks. They will also gain a good foundation in Italian grammar basics and they will be able to progress with their Italian, if they wish.
What do students achieve attending the Continuation course in the College of Commerce?
They will be encouraged to speak even more! In fact, half of our lesson is dedicated to develop their fluency and this means a full hour every week. New vocabulary and grammar are immediately implemented in new situations such as bargaining at the market, talking about family, weather, holidays and so on. Writing skills are also developed to consolidate students newly learned sentence structures. Therefore, after this course, students will be more confident in their Italian and they will be definitely be able to go to a market (no English speakers in Italian markets, sorry!) or shops, talk about the weather and their past holidays.
What do students achieve attending the Intermediate course in the College of Commerce?
“Parliamo Italiano” is the motto of this course, as we will alternate a grammar class (held in English) and a fluency class held completely in Italian with different topics and some listening (we will sometimes use a language room with headsets). Students will develop their language skills through discussion, exercises and role playing while new Italian idioms and expressions will help students to sound more Italian in conversation. A few of my students who completed this course are actually living in Italy at the moment, to give you an idea of the level.
What do students achieve attending the Advanced course in the College of Commerce?
‘Solo in Italiano, per favore’ (only in Italian, please) is the motto of this class. Many of these students started with me years ago, some of them have come from other schools and they all enjoy speaking only Italian. In fact, even our grammar lessons are in Italian. Many of them are fluent, others are almost fluent and they all love learning, studying and having fun in Italian, so much that a few of them live in Italy for few months a year and few of them have even bought a house there… lucky them!
We are going to start our Italian courses very soon at the College of Commerce and I’m happy to tell you that we’re introducing new classes and new activities!
First of all I’m trilled to tell you that, thanks to our ever growing number of students, this year we have a new Italian class: Italian Advanced. Please read below to know more about the content of this and the other classes, so that you can decide which class suits you best (if you’re still not sure, don’t hesitate to get in touch).
We’ll also periodically avail of language classrooms with headsets. This new tool will open the way for better listening skills, it will boost our confidence and it will improve our overall Italian.
We will have Italian for Beginners starting on Wednesday the 30th of September (6.00-8.00). It’s a 10 lesson course. As you know it is very engaging, equally based on conversation and grammar. As most of you already attended this course… I will move on.
Our Continuation Course will start on Tuesday the 29th of September (6.00-8.00). It is an 8 lesson course and every lesson is 2 hours long. We will work on different and important grammatical topics: the past and the adjectives. We will implement them in new conversational tasks such as role playing in real life situations and listening activities. This course is advisable for those who already attended Italian Beginners and for those who are comfortable with the present tense (mangio, bevo, vado, regular verbs and some irregular ones), articles (il, lo, la, gli, etc.), preposition (a Roma, in Italia, in bus, etc.), the time (che ore sono? Sono le 5), numbers and basic conversation (place an order at the restaurant, talk about themselves).
Our Intermediate Course will start on Tuesday the 29th of September (8.00-9.30). It is a 10 lesson course and every lesson is 1.5 hours long. During this term we will do a bit of revision (verbi servili and past) and we will tackle object pronouns (mangi la pasta? Si la mangio) and indirect pronouns (gli parlo, le parlo). Grammar lessons will be partially in English to enhance the clarity of understanding. Students should be comfortable with the present tense and the past tense (passato prossimo). They should have a good understanding of grammatical topics, such as masculine and feminine, articles (il, lo, la, I, gli, ecc.), prepositions and prepositional articles (di, a, da, della, dalla, agli and so on) and adjectives (la macchina e’ grande, il gatto e’ nero). Every second lesson we will have a Fluency class with different topics and some listening (we will sometimes use a language room with headsets) and the whole lesson will be in Italian. Students will be using Italian scripts to ask when they don’t understand (cosa significa ________? Come si dice ________? Non ho capito, puoi ripetere per favore? Come si scrive ________?), therefore the flow won’t be interrupted… we want to think in Italian to be fluent!
Our Advanced Course will start on Wednesday the 30th of September (8.00-9.30). It is a 10 lesson course and every lesson is 1.5 hours long. Questo corso è tutto in italiano. Le lezioni di grammatica si alterneranno a Lezioni di Conversazione. Gli studenti potranno scegliere tra diversi argomenti grammaticali: verbi riflessivi (mi sono lavata le mani), condizionale (andrei in vacanza domani), imperativo (mangia!), espressioni impersonali (si vive bene a Zurigo), congiuntivo (penso che sia una bella giornata..pensavo che tu avessi mangiato la pizza), periodo ipotetico (se vincessi alla lotteria andrei in vacanza), pronomi relativi (l’uomo per cui lavora Marco si chiama Tony), trapassato prossimo (Maria aveva già mangiato quando è andata al cinema) doppia negazione (non ho neanche il tempo di respirare). Grazie a laboratori linguistici attrezzati di cuffie lavoreremo anche sull’ascolto, miglioreremo il nostro orecchio ed impareremo nuovi modi di dire da usare in Italia e durante le nostre lezioni di Conversazione. Siete pronti? Allora ci vediamo mercoledì 30 alle 8 di sera!
It appears that in the last year, Italian became more and more popular among the people of Cork and the number of beginners has increased exponentially (in the school where I teach). So much so that the Beginners course we started at the end of January at the College of Commerce was fully booked with many people left on the waiting list (do not worry, I will contact you soon for the next one!). Are you wondering why? Some of the reasons are obvious, but some are quite a surprise…
I have always asked my students why they want to learn Italian, so that I can make my lessons more appealing to them by leveraging their own motivations and help them to achieve their goals with extra work. I have got a rainbow of answers… one for everyone in the audience.
As you can guess, many people become Italian students because they love Italy; they love the country with its fascinating history, art, food, sea, mountains, countryside, towns, villages, fashion, people and so on and on and on. They want to be able to speak and understand more about the country they love. This is a wonderful reason and it doesn’t put them under pressure. They appreciate their improvement and they can get an immediate benefit during their next holiday which is a great motivation.
You might have heard that things in Italy are not going very well… we say that ‘l’Italia sta andando a rotoli’ (Italy is going down the tube)… therefore the number of Italians who are coming to Cork looking for new opportunities is also increasing. Believe it or not, many people in Cork take up Italian because they have Italian friends and/or Italian partners (boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives) and they want to learn their language and know more about their beautiful country. Therefore, as the number of Italian people has increased, the number of people who want to learn Italian has also risen. Are you surprised? I was!
The number of Spanish students has also increased… Italian and Spanish are very similar. I went to Spain a couple of times and I could get by with my Italian to place orders or to have simple conversations. Therefore, Spanish students have an easier start due to the closeness of the two languages. Things become more complex with the Italian grammar, though. An Italian friend of mine has been studying Spanish for years and she is still fighting against the use of prepositions…
A few students have to learn Italian for work. They usually already have a second language and it is easier for them to learn Italian as they have developed a language awareness. Having said that, any student can definitely achieve good results and put Italian on their cv with a bit of work.
Among my students, I have had singers (teachers and students), men and women with Italian origins, football fans, grammar lovers, people who want to move to Italy and those who have part of their families already living there and want to be able to communicate with their grandchildren… one for everyone in the audience… I told you so!
This is not a scientific treatise, but only a rough estimation I worked out by adding up the answers I have had from my students over a number of years.
Let me know your reasons!
Oggi abbiamo corretto i compiti e poi abbiamo visto il Condizionale. Potete studiarlo a pagina 271. Compiti: esercizi A, B, C, D a pagina 272.