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Progressing with(out) grammar Ab initio students on the Italian degree programme at the University of Reading Teaching languages ab initio SOAS London.

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Presentation on theme: "Progressing with(out) grammar Ab initio students on the Italian degree programme at the University of Reading Teaching languages ab initio SOAS London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Progressing with(out) grammar Ab initio students on the Italian degree programme at the University of Reading Teaching languages ab initio SOAS London 12 November 2009 Enza Siciliano Verruccio

2 Ab initio students at the Department of Italian Studies at Reading ab initio student GCSE/O level in another MFL or Latin No previous experience of language learning Italian A level Italian GCSE/O level Italian background Limited working knowledge Native speakers 80% student intake … the remaining 20% … A level in another MFL or Latin

3 Before 2002: the big picture Advanced I Elementary Advanced II Post- elementary Year 4 Year Abroad 3 hours per week over three terms 1 textbook 1 final examination 3 hours per week over three terms 1 textbook 3 hours per week over two terms 1 final examination 3 hours per week over three 1 textbook 1 final examination 3 hours per week over three terms 1 textbook

4 Before 2002: the small print Beginners Elementary Intermediate Post-Beginners Post- Elementary Post-intermediate ab initio post-Italian GCSE/ limited working knowledge Intensive course in term 3: 4 hours per week; the Italian novel Extra Italian grammar classes

5 In 2002 … Introduction of modular system 1.Reduction of teaching time from 3 to 2 terms 2.Compression of contact hours Problem: Ab initio students entry behaviour in relation to explicit grammar knowledge

6 After 2002: compression of contact hours over two terms Advanced I Elementary Advanced II Post- elementary Year 4 Year Abroad 4 to 5 hours per week over two terms 4 to 5 hours per week over two terms 4 to 5 hours per week over two terms 3 hours per week over two terms 3 hours per week over two terms Oral and written language exams on return from YA

7 Response to ab initio students entry behaviour: the 2 groups Discriminating element: grammar awareness Which method? Elementary (1) No previous LL experience (2) Other MFL GCSE (3) Other MFL A level (below C) Intermediate Lower-Intermediate (1)Other MFL A level (C and above) (2) Italian GCSE Post -E Post -LI

8 Response to ab initio students entry behaviour: remedial intervention Elementary Lower-Intermediate Intermediate Extra conversation classes Online material Revision classes Intensive summer term course Language Skills classes

9 Language Skills … alias, the language of grammar to learn (the grammar of) a language Focus on common errors (English <> Italian => Italian only) Metalinguistic knowledge Transferable knowledge Capitalize on A level students competence 1 hour per fortnight!

10 Language Skills: Year 1 Concordanza (agreement) What parts of the sentence are affected in English by changing the noun shoe from singular into plural? What happens when in Italian you go from scarpa to scarpe? La grande scarpa rossa è nella scatola. Le grandi scarpe rosse sono nella scatola. The big red shoe is in the box. The big red shoes are in the box.

11 Language Skills: Year 2 Analisi logica Task: Identifica nel testo soggetto e oggetto: che tipo di oggetti sono presenti?

12 Language Skills: Year 2 Mi piace tantissimo il mio libriccino (mi piace) Lavar… … mi i dentini col mio spazzolino oggetto indiretto predicato verbale soggetto predicato verbale oggetto indiretto oggetto diretto complemento

13 Progression? Language Skills, alias … Advanced I Elementary Advanced II Intermediate Year 4 Year Abroad Lower- Intermediate

14 Progression? CEFR levels Advanced I Elementary Advanced II Intermediate Year 4 Year Abroad Lower- Intermediate B1/B2 A1/A2 A2 B2 B2/C1 C1/ C2 ?

15 A work in progress Adequate? Effective? Which ab initio student does it target? Bridging the gap between the two ab initio groups; Inclusion of advanced students; Integration into main language classes; Progression in grammatical competence (both metalinguistic and language specific) equates to progression in language learning? (More) research questions?


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