Hi everyone! :)
My name is Arianna, I'm 29 and I am Italian: I come from the north-east of Italy, Trentino Alto-Adige.
I fluently speak English, Spanish and French; I know Latin and Ancient Greek and understand the basics of German.
I hold a first class BA degree and a first class MA degree in Italian Philology, both obtained in Italy. During these five years I started to deepen my knowledge of Italian grammar and linguistics, other than literature, philology, history and general culture.
After obtaining my undergraduate degrees I undertook a postgraduate course at the University of Siena (the DITALS, Didattica dell’italiano a stranieri) in order to specialise in teaching Italian as a foreign language. During this one-year course I studied the basics of didactics: how to successfully plan lessons and schemes of work, how to manage time properly and teach grammar in a productive way. I also became very aware of the importance of knowing your students, from their age and level to the reasons why they are studying the language.
Later on I also undertook a PGCE (Postgraduate Course in Education) at the University of Bristol. This one-year course allows me to work as a qualified languages teacher in all British secondary schools. The PGCE not only greatly deepened my knowledge of languages didactics, but also trained me more specifically for a targeted audience, teenage English students.
My work experience in teaching Italian (amongst other languages) went in parallel with my training.
In Italy I gave private lessons to teenagers for several months, until I obtained a scholarship to work in a Spanish language school (the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas of Burgos) as an Italian language assistant. There I assisted the Italian teachers during their classes, but I had also the opportunity to teach solo and create my own resources. I could thus apply what I was starting to learn through the DITALS.
After my contract ended I moved to Madrid and worked there for a year as an Italian teacher. My students were mainly adult and Spanish speakers, but I also worked with a group of small children and an English business man. Their levels were very varied: some of them were learning Italian for the first time, others just needed a revision of the main grammar points or wanted to practice their vocabulary. I learnt to work independently, using not only course books but creating my own resources and often manipulating authentic texts according to my students’ levels.
After a year in Madrid I moved to England and, during my two-year training experience in Bristol, I taught Italian (together with French and Spanish) to teenagers aged 11 to 16 in three different secondary schools. Having to deal with huge groups of teenagers, I had to develop strategies to manage their behaviour and to maintain their interest and focus (i.e. the use of interactive websites, of games, songs etc).
Since I have moved to France I have also been experiencing teaching Italian to French speakers, which has widened my didactic techniques.
My teaching philosophy has grown and developed through the years, slightly changing with every new experience I encountered, but keeping essentially the main core. I think that the main role of a language teacher is to guide students and help them to become independent.
I give my students some inputs, I help them to overcome the difficult spots, and I try to make them understand that the key to learn a language is to be constant and not afraid of making a mistake. When planning my lessons, I always aim for a balance between the four skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) and between more interactive and more teacher-focused moments. I believe in the importance of grammar, but I try to teach it in a direct and entertaining way and to practice it through games and interactive activities. I often use songs to reinforce my students’ learning and when their level allows it, I like to watch extracts from movies. It is not just language that I’m teaching, but the whole world hidden behind it, and I always spice up my lessons with a taste of that culture and way of life. Most of all, though, I strongly believe (especially when dealing with adults) that teaching is a dialogue between two or more people, and my principal aim is to build my lessons around my students’ needs.