A new Italian language text book for art lovers, Stellare: Learning Italian with Cultural Stars

Inspired after my presentation at the 2013 Georgetown Italian Language and Culture Conference, I have created a new book of my art-based lessons – including a recipe by Lidia Bastianich, references to films by Nanni Moretti and Fred Kuwornu, an interview with Letizia Battaglia, a song by Gianmaria Testa, and paintings from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  These cultural experiences are all the subjects of my book’s language exercises: for example, there is a short essay assignment prompt with the sentence at the start of Nanni Moretti’s classic, Caro diario (“C

Bridging the Gap between Body and Language: negotiating the liminal space of the FL & culture classroom and achieving transcultural competence through the performing arts

The crucial yet underestimated role played by our bodies in the production of language and culture lies at the heart of the calls for reform in the foreign language curriculum that we are witnessing, especially since the 2007 MLA report stressed the need for a renewed FL curriculum able to produce “educated speakers who have deep translingual and transcultural competence” (“Foreign Languages and Higher Edu

Rock me, Leopardi! Italian Poetry via the Contemporary Music of Baustelle

Francesco Bianconi, lead singer and writer of the contemporary Italian music band Baustelle, has produced over six successful albums as well as have contributed in other distinct musical and lyrical collaborations with other artists throughout the past 15 years.  Bianconi has also recently produced the soundtracks for two recent Italian films and has published two popular fictional books revolving around the universal themes of love—which is often unrequited— the hopelessness and futility of life, and the overall crux of one’s being. Bianconi cred


September, 1932. A group of workers have lunch atop a skyscraper while photographer Charles Clyde Ebbets catches the convivial moment. Is it a fortuitous scoop or a pre-arranged set up?   According to historians and archivists at Corbis Images, it was a publicity stunt. Nonetheless, it lends itself to a presentation that will use this photo to elicit students’ reflections, inferences, and critical thinking; at the same time, the instructor’s guided debate will aim to provoke the students’ production of oral and written language.

Nuovissime forme di diffusione della lingua e cultura italiana. Presentazione del MOOC dell’Università per Stranieri di Siena: Introduction to Italian Language and Culture

Nel nostro intervento vogliamo presentare quello che, a tutt’oggi, è il primo MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) dedicato alla diffusione della lingua e cultura italiana.

The Italian Skype Pal Project: A Deep Dip Into Culture

Foreign language teachers all face the same challenges. One of the largest challenges is trying to import the culture of their language into the classroom. In recent years, technology has been an important ally in this effort by providing easy access to realia. However, teachers need to choose their materials with care because sometimes they can appear “fake” or “prepackaged,” which can make students disengage.

Teaching contemporary Italy: a selection of intercultural topics and relevant resources

Italian language is immediately associated with a single nation: Italy. It is therefore very important for students of Italian to be exposed to texts and audiovisual materials that show the country, where the language they study is actually spoken, as it really is. Italy has changed a great deal in the last thirty years: it has become multicultural, and it has experienced the fall of the political party system that came into being after World War II.

Teaching Italian language and culture: going beyond stereotypes

Italian culture is often related to pizza, mandolino and La dolce vita. The Commedia all’Italiana has often been chosen as the most representative of the Italian life-style, thanks to the realism and subjectivism that characterizes the Commedia. Nowadays, Italian culture and language is changing and we, as Italian teachers, must be aware of its changes in order to show to our learners a significant picture.

Integrating Museum Resources, Technology, and Language Learning

The presentation will focus on integrating museum resources in the Italian language and culture curriculum at intermediate and advanced levels. Through a step-by-step construction of well developed, dynamic, self-paced activities, I will demonstrate how enriching, innovative, and adaptable online museum resources can be in teaching both language and content-based courses. Alternative platforms of content delivery, such as Wikis and Google+ will be discussed.