During the Renaissance, a vast quantity of vocabulary of Latin and Ancient Greek origin filtered from Italy into English and still counts for around 60% of the English vocabulary. Through learning Italian, you will not only be able to communicate with Italian speakers, you’ll improve your English too!
Italian is spoken by around 64 million people as a mother tongue and it is the world’s fourth most studied language. Italy is the 5th most visited country (2019: 64.5 million visitors) in the world and is the country with the biggest number of UNESCO world heritage sites (currently standing at 58, which include Rome, Florence, the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre, home to Disney’s famous sea monster, Luca).
Our Vision and Aim
The department aims to equip students with language which they can make use of in Italy, and with the skills of language learning. We also aim to provide an insight into Italian culture and traditions, providing excursions to Italy and exhibitions in the UK when suitable.
Students may begin in Italian in Year 7. During this year they will learn the basics for communication in Italian through studying the language’s phonics, vocabulary and grammar. Additionally, we examine cultural aspects of the language, such as festive traditions, and we look at the representation of Italy in the Disney film, Luca . In Years 8 and 9 students continue to build on what they have learned in Year 7, still based on the pillars of phonics, vocabulary and grammar, and broadening cultural knowledge by researching Italian brands and familiarising themselves with Italian music.
In Year 7 students have the chance to start Italian as their second language option. They will learn how to conduct a variety of everyday conversations and have the opportunity to put these into practice in Italy if they take part in the trip to Rome in March/April of Year 8 or 9.
Students are introduced to the basic grammatical concepts of the language. Classes are conducted mainly in Italian and students are actively encouraged to use the language as much as possible themselves. The four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing are developed during the course of the three years. Topics covered include self, school, free time, fashion, talking about your town, holidays and classroom language. Assessment is by means of termly tests and end of year examination.
The course aims to develop the students’ understanding of the language, their ability to communicate effectively, their knowledge and application of grammar, and their knowledge and understanding of Italian life and culture.
The topics to be covered, on which the new GCSE assessment will be based are Identity and culture (self and others, family, daily life and hobbies), local, national, international and global areas of interest (home town, travel, tourism and social issues) and current and future study (school, education and employment).
The GCSE examinations take place at the end of Year 11, during which students are assessed on the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The weighting is 25% listening, 25% reading, 25% speaking and 25% writing. Assessment of student progress also takes place throughout the course, by means of end-of-unit tests and an end of Year 10 examination.
In Year 10, students have the opportunity to take part in a trip to Urbania, once known as Castel Durante, where they have daily language lessons with native speakers and afternoon excursions and activities. These include a traditional Castel Durante pottery workshop and cooking an Italian meal at an agriturismo. There are also trips to Perugia, Urbino and the Adriatic coast. Students stay with Italian families who encourage them to speak the language and to try traditional dishes.