Writing a new chapter: the St.Louis Italian language program

Oct 08, 2019 253

BY: Giovanna Leopardi, Director of the St Louis Italian Language Program

This year I was honored to assist in the founding a new Italian language program in St Louis with friends and supporters at the Italian Community of St Louis (Comunità degli Italiani - St Louis). It would not have been possible without having met Dr. Antonio DiTucci of Gateway Science Academy, a public charter highschool in St Louis He was instrumental in obtaining a home for our classes.

As the director of the program, I'm pleased with the response of so many new students and former students who have signed up for the classes. Along with my colleagues, Concetta Lo Iacono Gabriele and Federica Bertolini, I express my gratitude for all who are journeying with us in our new adventure. 

This semester, our very first, has begun with over 50 students signed up in three different classes: Beginners Italian, Advanced Italian, and Conversational Italian. Next semester, starting in Spring 2020, we will add more classes as well as additional teachers. Each of our professors come directly from Italy and have advanced degrees in the Italian language. Furthermore, we use the immersion methodology of teaching a secondary language as this has been shown to be the most efficient and effective way of learning a foreign language. 

In addition to our classes for adults, our Italian classes for children have continued to be a success at St Ambrose parish center. Our theme, Imparare L'italiano Giocando, which translates as "learning Italian while playing" has been effective in engaging children of all ages to interact with each other in the Italian language. The number of children and parents participating has grown especially this semester. 

I am excited for the possibilities that we have yet to encounter along the way. For the moment, I am thankful for what we have accomplished as an Italian community and especially thankful for being able to provide Italian classes for my students with the resources, classroom setting, and environment that they deserve to learn Italian in the most effective way. I invite you all to invite your friends and family members to attend our Italian classes and I look forward to meeting many of you in person. 

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