The Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies => https://www.montclair.edu/inserra-chair/ in connection with the Italian Program => https://www.montclair.edu/modern-languages-and-literatures/programs-of-study/italian at MSU offers a program that seamlessly links the high school and college learning experience at the pre-AP level, while granting 3 college credits. It was launched in the summer 2017 and offered again in summer of 2018, summer of 2019, summer of 2021 and summer of 2022, with great resulting benefits to both the HS and the university systems (the 2020 edition was canceled due to the pandemic).
Taught by a native speaker instructor and coordinated by an experienced high school teacher on the Montclair State University campus, the program aims to consolidate rising senior students’ intermediate Italian skills on their way to an advanced level. Students benefit from an engaging college experience on a campus boasting a dynamic Italian program and proximity to New York City. The course also includes off-campus activities such as visits at the MET or Magazzino, Eataly and various cultural centers (Tenement Museum) and Italian companies and stores in NYC (Scavolini, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, MO Gelato) and NJ (Botto Museum, Yogi Berra Museum).
The course is taught in the target language. This immersive approach leads to the study of more complex structures of the language and the expression of emotion, personal opinions, agreements and judgments. The students increase their vocabulary and ability to comprehend written texts, write an essay in Italian, and communicate spontaneously and effectively. The development of these competencies, skills and communicative abilities prepares students for college-level (e.g. Advanced Placement) courses and exams. The students get the chance to explore different topics: immigration and Italian identity, Made in Italy and sustainability, Fashion, food, movies and contemporary film directors and other aspects that are fascinating to and suggested by the students.
It has been recognized as a Best Practice in Italian teaching in the Tri-State Area at the 2018 national meeting of the U.S. “enti gestori” (managing units), which are in charge of the promotion of Italian language in connection with the Italian Consulates. At a time in which languages are mostly discussed as a “field in crisis,” and national resources are channeled primarily towards “critical need” languages, Montclair State University is particularly proud of investing on innovative projects towards enrollment growth by offering a bridge course in Italian, simultaneously the language of a G7 country and a heritage language spoken in the countries of Italy’s vast diaspora.
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A project like this, however, calls for partnerships between public, private and nonprofit entities, especially as far as infrastructure is concerned, and requires dialog between high schools and colleges regarding specific course content. The underlying principle of this course is promising and by joining forces we see room for growth throughout the field of Italian studies that goes beyond individual schools or universities