Friday 25th of August 2023, a very important day for all Irish students who were waiting for their Leaving Certificate results. But an important day for me, too. I have been preparing students for their Italian Leaving Cert for thirteen years. Working with them every school week, teaching, seeing their improvement and boosting their confidence. On call 24-7 in March (oral part of the exam) and June (exam papers). Waiting and waiting for their results in August. It is a cycle and a rollercoaster of emotions!
The secret for success really shouldn’t be a secret at all: start early! We cannot cram excellence in a language and be able to use it proficiently in a year. If students start studying Italian at 12 or 13 years of age and they keep it up every week and every day with games, watching Italian cartoons and books, they will have most of the work done early and effortlessly.
Students don’t need to be Italian in order to get H1 as long as they start early. One of my Irish students (no Italian relations whatsoever) texted me on Friday about her H1 in ITALIAN “Carolina, we are so extremely delighted.” She wrote it in capital letters. She hoped, we hoped, but we know that it is hard to get H1. She started studying with me when she was in first class of secondary school. We had a class per week with some homework for 6 years. As soon as she consolidated enough grammar and vocabulary we started working on the Leaving Cert itself. As we had so many years ahead, her oral preparation was completely stress free and fun. Her oral had been ready since she started her 5th year. We just perfected her grammar, enriched her vocabulary and got her even more confident and natural. By then, our lessons were mostly in Italian. During the last two years we worked on the prescribed book, all the possible subjects for a possible essay and very hard comprehension texts… We worked in person and online (very convenient, especially when we know each other so well).
And now here we are with such a fantastic reward for all her work and time. She is ready to go to the University of Oxford to study architecture this September. I have also arranged for her to do an internship with an architect I know in Lake Como, Italy. Which will be ideal as she is now completely fluent in Italian.
All my students did very well this year as they have in all the previous years. Almost all have gotten either a H2 or a H1!
The other advantage of starting early is that when it comes time for the exams, these students can concentrate on their other subjects and just maintain and fine tune Italian. They can also take the Italian exam with little stress because they have been ready for so long and I make sure they know how ready they are going in full of confidence.
What about students who are a little older, what can be done for them? I do sometimes take students who are going into 4th or 5th year also who have already studied Italian in school or independently (or are already fluent in a romance language). However, in these cases, the student needs to have a reasonable level of Italian already and the willingness to work to prepare on a shorter schedule. But I have had great success with these later arrivals too.
In both cases, the importance of working with a qualified Italian teacher like myself (Irish teaching council number: 224790) who understands the exam process and how to maximise results while teaching the language and fluency at the same time is vital to success in the leaving cert. But also in giving these young people the fluency to be able to converse fluently enough to travel in Italy for studying, culture or fun!
Well done to all my students, I am very proud of you all…
And now it’s time to go again 😉
Here some messages from this year:
I just got my results a few minutes ago and I got a H2 in Italian! I cannot thank you enough for all of your help over the past few months!! I.
Grazie mille!!! You were an amazing teacher! 🙂 M.
Ciao Carolina, spero che tu stia bene! Ho preso H1 in Italiano, grazie per il tuo aiuto 😉 A.
H1 in Italiano per E.;-) E.
Hi Carolina, very happy with my results overall! I got the H2…. Thanks so much again for all your help. A.
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