Category Archives: Language

Easy readings in Italian

We want to share some websites which provide easy readings for students of Italian. These can be used in the elementary and intermediate levels and for reading comprehensions on quizzes, exams, etc. The following links will be also added to the Resource page of the ILAC website. Our next ILAC meeting is May 4th.

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Pedagogy Workshop — service to others

Today several professors from different CUNY campuses presented to an audience composed primarily of graduate students from the Comparative Literature department. The theme of the workshop was the pedagogy of Foreign Languages, we discussed, among other topics, how to use movies in second language acquisition,  teaching at a community college and senior colleges, task-based instruction, and second language acquistion best practices.

The presentations were very well received by the participants and we, as the organizers, together with Monica Calabritto, Director of  the Italian Program at the Graduate Center have been extremely satisfied with the outcome and turnout. We now want to to make this a fixed feature, and select a different theme every year. We believe in sharing resources, ideas and mentorship to graduate students. Offering ourselves as mentors to graduate students truly defines what it means to be good teachers — a life dedicated to serving others.

Ciao a tutti e grazie per la partecipazione !





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Pedagogy Workshop “Evolving Pedagogies in the Modern Language Classroom”

The Italian Language Advisory Committee and The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute cordially invite you to attend the workshop

 Evolving Pedagogies in the Modern Language Classroom

Dear Fellow CUNY Foreign Language Teachers,

Please join us for a half-day workshop on language teaching at CUNY’s Calandra Institute on Jan. 25th from 10:00-2:30. Several professors from various CUNY schools have put together the following program in the hopes that it will help us improve our teaching as we reflect on and share our language-teaching practices.

As you can see in the brief program below, it is a relatively casual affair but we do need to know if you intend to come. Please RSVP to if you plan on coming. We hope to have at least a dozen attendees, and we are inviting all foreign language teacher in the CUNY system. Even though some of the examples will be in Italian, the presentations will be in English. Please spread the word and RSVP by January 15th. 

10:00-10:30 Coffee

10:30-11:00 Teaching Foreign Languages at CUNY
An open discussion of what we all find to be our strengths and areas for improvement while teaching in the CUNY system (led by Tom Means, BMCC, and Morena Corradi, Queens College)

11:00-11:30, Lesson Planning, Mary Refling, BCC
Planning a Lesson in Four Easy Steps.  We will review how to write more effective, performance-based objectives, plan your classroom activities for varying time segments, and avoid over-reliance on textbook exercises and worksheets.  The last ten minutes will be devoted to games and props that make learning vocabulary and doing verb drills much, much more fun.

11:30-12:00 Traditional Instruction and Task-based Instruction, Tom Means, BMCC
This talk will present what is commonly referred to as Traditional Instruction (TI) or PPP (Presentation, Practice, Produce) of foreign languages, and why it is still the dominant method of teaching languages in the US. We will then discuss one emerging methodology that has some empirical support for its efficacy: Task-based instruction (TBI). The presenter will walk through one “cycle” of TBI, illustrating its most promising features to foster fluency and accuracy in our students.

12:00-12:30 Lunch break (pizza offered by Calandra Institute)

12:30-1:00 Culture through Language and Language through Culture, Samuel Ghelli, York College
A discussion of how a study of the bones of the (Italian) language–lexicon, morphology, syntax–can represent/teach the culture of the (Italian) people. Such a grammatical analysis can help students see culture through language.

1:00-1:30 Harnessing technology to help deliver pedagogically sound lessons, Antonietta D’Amelio, Baruch College

Technology plays a crucial role in exposing learners to authentic language and culture but it can also be used to deliver highly effective lessons.  The presenter will demonstrate and discuss some proven strategies that will help you create highly interactive learning modules that boost learning and promote target language fluency.

·       Learning the present indicative tense using PowerPoint
·       Expanding vocabulary through music and YouTube
·       Speaking meaningfully by incorporating short films

The presenter will discuss and demonstrate effective ways to achieve your objective and how to effectively utilize available media resources in order to support and expand in-class instruction.

1:30-2:00 Introduction to Blackboard and Web. 2.0 tools, Giulia Guarnieri, BCC

This session will provide a pedagogical framework on how to meaningfully integrate technology into your courses. We will begin by exploring some of the basics of Blackboard and then present several Web 2.0 tools that will stimulate interest in the subject matter and generate a passion for learning foreign languages.

2:00-2:30 Q&A session with all presenters

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Open Letter

To:  Dean Anderson, Chair of the Pathways Steering Committee
From: CUNY Council on World Language Study (Alicia Ramos, President)

While CUNY Council on World Language Study (CCWLS) was pleased to see languages (plural) listed as a disciplinary area in the Pathways Essential Learning Goals of September 12th, we are dismayed and deeply concerned about the absence of foreign languages from the Common Core and their minimal presence in the Flexible Core as per the Summary of the retreat of October 14th.  Given that:

•       it is knowledge of the language that gives access to the culture of a geographical area
•       study of a second language affords critical reflection between language and culture
•       study of a second language improves first-language competency
•       the United States is at a disadvantage in foreign language competence relative to other competitive countries
•       knowledge of languages other than English is relevant to all four areas in the Flexible Core
•       a number of disciplines are listed in more than one area of the Flexible Core
CCWLS urges that foreign language be included as an option in all four categories of the Flexible Core.  In addition, to foster deeper linguistic knowledge and cultural understanding, we strongly recommend that an exception be made so that two courses in a foreign language may be taken among the five required courses in the Flexible Core.  In the increasingly interconnected world we inhabit, knowledge of another language is crucial to the professional success of CUNY graduates. We do our students a disservice if we deprive them of this knowledge and thus allow them to fall behind their peers, nationally and abroad.

Respectfully submitted.
CUNY Council on World Language Study

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Italian Language and Literature Conferences

I would like to remind all Italianists of several opportunities to present at our Italian professional organizations.

AAIS(American Association of Italian Studies) will hold its annual conference at the College of Charleston in Charleston,May 3-5, 2012. For more information please check the website.

To receive information about upcoming conferences, job ads, etc you can subscribe to the AAIS list-serve,

AAIT (American Association of Teachers of Italian), for more information about upcoming conferences please contact the association’s website, To subscribe to the listserve please consult this page,

Painting: La Città ideale (Anonimo fiorentino) 1480- 1490

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Mission of The Italian Language Advisory Committee


Mission and Vision of the Italian Language Advisory Council (ILAC) Queens College of The City University of New York.

 The ILAC serves the CUNY Italian-American teaching community and seeks to offer guidance and support to all teaching staff of The City University of New York by sharing vital resources and information in this era of ever growing globalization.

The ILAC is a committee associated with The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, led by Dean Anthony Tamburri. The Chair of ILAC is elected by the committee at large and serves a two-year term that may be extended from term to term.

The committee seeks to:

  • Foster a climate of cooperation, collegiality, and exchange of teaching and research resources among colleagues.
  • Support the growth of Italian language programs at all levels of instruction within CUNY.
  • Provide training and mentorship to part-time instructors and graduate students who teach Italian.
  • Circulate information about conferences, lectures, symposiums about Italian language, culture, literature, and support scholarly academic publications.
  • Organize monthly meetings among Italianists to discuss prominent issues and make concrete policy recommendations.
  • Promote and actively work towards articulation among Italian programs within the City University of New York, especially from the Community Colleges to Senior Colleges.
  • Offer up-to-date information and document the work of the committee on the Council’s website.
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ILAC Fall meetings will be

Sept 16   11:00am-1.00pm

Oct 21    2.00pm-4.00pm

Nov 4   2.00pm-4.00pm

I will publish the Agenda shorty.

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Italian: Fifth Most Studied Language in the US

According to the MLA’s (Modern Language Association) recent statistics, in 2009, students who enrolled in Italian courses were more than one million (1,0008, 370). This is significant since it reveals that the Italian language is still showing signs of interest and appreciation among college students. Italian language and literature courses in the US in 2009 were approximately 80.752, with a 3% increase in comparison to 2006 (Last MLA’s survey). Since 1998 the study of Italian has increased 63% which makes it the 5th most studied language in American colleges and Universities. It is also important to underline that among the 215 million English speakers, 46,951,000 people speak another language.

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ILAC Resource Page

We just updated the resource page of our website in which you will find all sorts of resources pertaining to Italian language, literature, culture, music, comics, opera, etc. that can be shared with students and colleagues at your institutions. You might also want to add this link to your syllabi

If you want to share other useful resources with our community, feel free to contact us either by twitter or email.

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Anglicisms in Italian and W i dialetti!


 Tutte le settimane controllo sul sito del Corriere della Sera per leggere le pillole di saggezza che Severgnini dispensa dalla sua rubrica “Tre minuti una parola“. Trovo questa clip (sorry Mr. Severgnini!) molto divertente e facile da inserire come elemento culturale all’interno di uno dei nostri corsi di italiano. L’argomento: “gli orrori” (li definisce proprio cosi’) che facciamo quotidianamente usando un inglese italianizzato.

Altri video che vorrei consigliare per i nostri corsi sono le pubblicita’ prodotte dalla RAI in occasione del 150˚ anniversario dell’unificazione italiana (1861-2011). Il mio preferito è il primo video, il quale mostra tutta la ricchezza dei dialetti italiani, ma anche la loro l’incomprensibilità! Provate a capire quello che dicono ! Ho fatto vedere questi due video ai miei studenti i quali li hanno accolti con molta simpatia. Buona visione !


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