“To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.” – Chinese Proverb. This quote promotes an openness to learning another language and culture, as well as learning about another language and culture.
The learning environment created in Italian classes at St. Vincent De Paul School, is one where lessons aim to be enjoyable in addition to being purposeful. The program offers all students the possibility to use the Italian language to communicate with each other during lessons, and the potential to communicate with other students and staff within the school.
From Foundation to Year 6, through learning from books, stories, prayers, customs, traditions, songs, role-plays, puppetry, games, art, drama activities, pupils have the opportunity to work towards competency in their skills of listening, reading, writing, speaking and viewing (even reflecting). In order to assist with students’ developing oral expertise in Italian, there is great emphasis on repeating and recycling frequently used words, expressions and phrases. Students are eagerly encouraged to experiment with pronunciation, intonation and responding appropriately with each other, following teacher modelling and prompting. The combination of learnt gestures, facial expressions and/or movement are used to aid communication.
Incursions, like bi-lingual shows and pasta making workshops add depth and extension to the learning that happens within the classroom. An Italian Expo Week envisages to highlight students’ learning as well as a week of games and creative activities.
During lessons, as each learner is assisted to develop their oral and written vocabulary and grammatical capacity in Italian – for example, practising rules pertaining to grammar or the writing of simple texts – comparisons and contrasts with English are often drawn, allowing pupils to continue to improve their general grasp of this language as well.