Enough is Enough: Let’s Crack English Together!
- Provide English language course material, specifically tailored for Italian youngsters and Italian adults.
- A meeting point for students and teachers to share their experiences as we search for genuine solutions to overcome this ‘national mental block’.
- Create a cultural ‘magazine’ zone to encourage a greater awareness of both English and Italian culture including what links them, in order to facilitate language acquisition. This will be set up to accommodate kids/teenagers on the one hand and adults on the other.
- Only time will tell…
This ‘open book’ is a personal response to help the many Italian students of English who feel deep frustration and are by now resigned to the idea they cannot make significant improvement, despite years of time, effort, and money dedicated to the acquisition of the English language.
When many Italians set out on their quest for English it isn’t long before they conclude they have something inherently ‘wrong’ and lacking within themselves that is preventing genuine progress beyond what for many can be considered a kind of false beginner to strong pre-intermediate level. I for one am tired of seeing this self-blame that all too often leads to low-self-esteem thus forming a problematic loop, and I hope you are too!
With your help, and fellow teachers we are going to investigate perceptible solutions to go beyond what at times appears to qualify as a sort of collective national mental block. Such a mental state is well and truly alive in some schools here, as if the fatalistic message of inevitable failure is somehow managing to seep into the collective subconscious of the nation.
Of course it is not all doom and gloom: far from it! Italian students are invariably highly-critical of their English and incredibly talented at being oblivious to their tangible improvements, which their teachers can otherwise see. Indeed, if their teacher dares point this out, they tend to be mercilessly dismissed!
Luckily, these dark mental states are not [always] set in stone, but like all things they are momentary and simply part of the learning process. Likewise, as we are all too aware, being too hard on oneself, holding ridiculously high expectations, preferring safety to daring, are all states of mind we employ in just about every area of our lives. In this respect a great dose of humour is of paramount importance.
English learners of all levels will find something useful or simply interesting already on the site, although actual lesson plans will tend towards that mass of ‘false beginners’ this country has so prolifically produced. On the other hand pronunciation exercises for example: the Achilles heel of Italian speakers of English, will undoubtedly benefit all. By the same token, ‘even’ purportedly low level exercises may well be full of surprises for higher level students, so look around!
We will also work on a greater cultural awareness of ‘all things English’ since language and culture can hardly be separate. Furthermore, since there must also be a link between your awareness of Italian culture and your ability to interact in English you will also discover lots of information on Italy herein.
Having been born in England I intend to investigate British English in its geo-cultural setting. Therefore references to American English as well as any other English spoken in additional countries will generally appear ‘only’ as comparisons to the main focus of British Standard English. This of course does not prevent constructive discussions on the various types of English out there: far from it.I will be happy to sit in and learn from you. I myself have been ‘happily’ banging my head against that same wall, alongside you. My 15 years’ participation in classrooms in Italy has obviously led me to question my own responsibility to this state of affairs! In fact I want to state from the start that this open book is also my chance to improve my own language awareness to investigate together with you what is really blocking Italians.
In any case, all the above is just an initial brainstorm as to what this site could become if we work and laugh together…
Let’s wish ourselves luck as we begin – good god we need it!