In our school we use the communicative method, which aims at the continuous improvement of students’ communication skills. From the outset, we encourage spontaneous and creative use of the language and priority is given to meaning over form. The fundamental aspect is that communication keeps going.
In our courses we strongly believe that making mistakes is a natural part of learning a language. Students, who do their best to communicate, have every right to make mistakes. According to our teaching approach, it is not good to correct continuously and it is essential never to correct students in the stage of production. Naturally, this does not mean that correcting an error is not important. However, we reserve separate class time for addressing this discreetly. The aim is to take note of those students´ mistakes that are possible to eliminate in the stage of the learning process, to help them to figure out for themselves the correct way to communicate. The correction never affects only the individual, but happens as a general analysis on the class level and must be beneficial to everyone.
For us, the class is, moreover, the ideal environment for linguistic growth: from the beginning we work on the cohesion of the students who make up the class and we lead them towards cooperation. In the class one helps another, information is exchanged, we work in pairs or in groups, we talk. As part of an interactive and dynamic methodology, the use of real communicative situations, allowing students to frequently re-use the language of everyday communication, contributes to the learning process in a fun way. In addition, we also perform purely teaching play activities which allow the student to learn while enjoying themselves.
The communicative approach gives priority to listening as well. A direct contact with the language is essential. It is not just about listening to your teacher, but about practicing the language and listening to others, about having personal contact with the language, about practicing sounds, improvising and creating sentences, making mistakes and learning from them.
In short, the most effective way to learn is to be totally immersed in the language you want to learn. That is why we teach from the initial level only in Italian (while providing students with useful tools for communication and understanding).
Finally, although the communicative approach considers listening and speaking priority, our lessons are structured so that the student can also develop the other language skills and slowly learns to read and write.
The courses are divided in accordance with the learning levels of the Council of Europe CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), and teaching takes place on the basis of a syllabus prepared specifically for our school meeting the needs of our students.
The CEFR is an international standard for describing language ability. It describes language ability on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered a language. This makes it easy for anyone involved in language teaching and testing, such as teachers or learners, to see the level of different qualifications.
The CEFR levels are in turn divided into sub-levels:
A1 (A1a, A1b, A1c): 90 hrs.
A2 (A2a, A2b, A2c): 90 hrs.
B1 (B1a, B1b, B1c, B1d, B1e): 150 hrs.
B2 (B2a, B2b, B2c, B2d): 120 hrs.
C1 (C1a, C1b, C1c, C1d, C1e): 150 hrs.
For the insertion of new students into non-beginner classes, a placement test is required, which allows us to correctly assign them to the classes based on their level.