ITAL 408: ITALIAN CONVERSATION PRACTICUM

Teletandem for 1 credit

Fall 2016

ITAL 408 offers you the opportunity to interact with a native speaker of Italian at an Italian university. You will meet your Italian collaborator at least 8 times during the semester for one hour and twenty minutes – you are encouraged to meet once per week. During each session, you will speak for 30 minutes in Italian and 30 minutes in English, and the session will end with 20 minutes of language feedback. You will record and upload your video chat sessions to the instructor on Canvas, and complete self-assessment assignments and provide other feedback as requested. To enroll in this course, you must have completed ITAL 011 Intensive Basic Italian. This course is intended for all intermediate and advanced level students who wish to improve their oral proficiency, maintain their contact with the language, and especially for those planning a semester abroad in Italy.

Objective: improve oral fluency and comprehension

Implementation:

You will video chat at least 8 times using ZOOM with an Italian partner at Unisalento, in Lecce, Italy.  
Each session will be 80 minutes long, 30 minutes in English, 30 minutes in Italian, with 20 minutes of language feedback.
Sessions will begin as soon as possible (i.e as soon as an Italian partner has been identified).
Once you have connected with your Italian partner, you will set a date and time for your first session. It is advisable that you settle on a day and time that will work well with your schedules throughout the semester so as to avoid scheduling difficulties later on.

Assessment:

you must upload a recording of 8 complete video chats
after four of your Teletandem sessions, you will complete the post session survey.
at the end of the semester you will submit a Teletandem Portfolio. The portfolio will contain the following items:
A 5-minute video excerpt from your first Teletandem Session
A 5-minute video excerpt from your final Teletandem Session
A 2-page self-assessment written in English or Italian on your progress during the semester. Discuss the reasons why you selected the specific clips from your first and final sessions. Why are they particularly significant?
A 5 minute video recording in Italian in which you describe your Teletandem partner, reflect on your learning during the semester, and give general feedback on the experience.

What our students have said about Teletandem in the past:

  • I enjoyed learning about the cultural differences between the US and Italy, particularly speaking with someone who was my age in Italy.
  • I enjoyed my skype sessions because my partner was very nice and because she is my age, it wasn’t intimidating to speak in Italian even though I made some mistakes.
  • I liked having to be forced to have conversations. It was much different then class where you have a certain topic to prepare for, and in a social setting because you have to talk for 1/2 hour with one person in Italian.
  • My conversation partner was very nice and we had a lot in common, so our conversations were enjoyable.
  • It was a great experience to get to know my Italian companion and speak with him about things pertinent to both of our lives.
  • It definitely had a positive impact on my spoken Italian, particularly because it forced me to pay attention to the other person and form a response rather than speaking to a general audience or recording myself speaking.
  • It is very helpful to be able to speak with an Italian speaker about current and everyday topics.
  • I think these sessions really helped me improve my speaking skills over the course of the semester.
  • I definitely became more confident in my spoken Italian as I did more and more Teletandem sessions.
  • I think it improved my skills. Speaking with an actual native speaker is always a huge asset for developing language skills.
  • The Teletandem sessions allowed me to communicate in a low-pressure setting in which I was comfortable practicing and not afraid of making mistakes!
  • I feel more confident because many of my previous mistakes were corrected