Songs, Music Videos and Interviews: Precious Tools for Teaching Authentic Culture in Italian language courses

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Dickinson College

In my beginner and intermediate level Italian courses at Dickinson College, I regularly use music and interviews as ways to connect with students and teach them Italian culture in a fun and captivating way. Most undergraduates love music and, of course, so do students of Italian. My students come to class, walk on campus and exercise while listening to music. They even study with music in the background! Since music accompanies young people throughout their day, I have strived to make music an essential part of my classes. I use it as entertainment, as a tool to review grammar structures and vocabulary, and of course as a way to teach Italian culture. Students often complain when they are taught culture exclusively through the textbook: they want to be exposed to “real” Italian culture. As a result, I have made video interviews of family members and friends concerning various aspects of their lives (their job, their daily schedule, their hobbies, etc) in order to provide students with authentic cultural material. Moreover, the interviews are also great listening and comprehension activities and, last but not least, they allow students to learn more about their instructor’s family. In my presentation, I will share how I use music and interviews in my courses, by giving useful and practical suggestions on how to take advantage of songs, music videos and interviews to make Italian classes more interesting and fun, for both the students and the instructors. 

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

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