Fashion, Made in Italy, and Italian Style in Language and Culture Courses

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University of Pennsylvania

Fashion, Made in Italy, and Italian Style are vital parts of Italian identity - in Italy and abroad - and for this reason can be of great interest for teachers who work in a content-based instruction framework (Brinton, Snow, and Wesche 1989; Marsh and Maljers 1994). Moreover, these themes offer the possibility of deepening the topic “Beauty and Aesthetics” and linking it to other areas, such as “Global Challenges” or “Contemporary Life”, which are an essential part in AP courses and exams. My studies on the field of fashion have recently led me, together with my colleague Daniela De Pau, to write a book for intermediate-level students of Italian: Moda, stile e simboli published by Farinelli in 2012. It contains a selection of various text types, from Sozzani’s articles I capricci della moda to Il vestito “mariage” by Goldoni or Il vestito dell’avvenire by Rodari, by way of example, aimed at offering a series of reflections on the meanings of fashion, clothing and style in different social and historical contexts. In my presentation, I will show how to integrate a text with images, songs, videos, and films in a coherent and well-built unit on Italian fashion that: 1) develops students’ linguistic skills through the interpretive, interpersonal and presentational modes of communication; 2) promotes language acquisition through cooperative learning and fun activities; 3) enhances learners’ cultural (and cross-cultural) competence, focusing on the relationship between clothing and Italian identity, and the social and cultural implications of both. 


Paper presented at the Teaching Italian Culture Conference, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., Saturday, October 19, 2013

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