Service Learning in Italian
This new programme which has been developed by Dr. Anne O’Connor in the Department of Italian gives university students the opportunity to learn about language acquisition and allows them to put this learning into practice by teaching introductory classes in Italian to primary schools in the Galway area. The syllabus is composed of lectures, guided reading and supervision of projects. Lessons are provided on the theory and practice of language acquisition and students are helped to integrate this learning with practical work. Due to the nature of the practical work in the context of primary school children, there is a strong emphasis on language acquisition through fun and games.
Five schools and twenty students have signed up to take part in the initiative in this its pilot year. During October and November, the university students participated in language acquisition classes and had the opportunity to explore creative ways of teaching languages and making the process enjoyable and accessible for primary school children. The lessons in the schools will start in January 2007 and will run for eight weeks. On the successful completion of the Italian classes, the school pupils will come to campus where they will participate in an awards ceremony and an Italian Day. This initiative aims to foster positive attitudes towards language learning and it is hoped that the language learning experience will be a positive and enjoyable one for all involved.
When applying to take part in the pilot programme, one student said: ‘Being a student of foreign languages myself and having spent some time as a teacher of English as a foreign language I would be very interested to experience another side of the language acquisition process. I think this would be a very unique and rewarding way of contributing to the community here in Galway whilst also gaining new skills and experiences myself.’
Another student wrote: ‘I would like to take part in this initiative as it would be an ideal opportunity to use the language skills that I’ve acquired while gaining valuable experience, also. I have a great interest in volunteer work and love working with children. I feel that this initiative will be very beneficial to the children as exposure to European language and culture will broaden their minds and prepare them for future study. I believe it is also important to have a varied choice of language in school and for too long Italian has been neglected. I was involved with drama and love the idea of using fun and role-play to teach language. It should begin at a much younger age, as this will enhance their primary school experience and facilitate further language study. I would love to have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm and passion for Italian with these children.’
For additional information on this opportunity please contact Anne O'Connor email@example.com or +353 91 493794 (ext. 3794)