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Methods and levels


Methods and levels

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The methodology used is communicative. It emphasizes the central role of the student who will learn by interaction, working in pairs, in small groups and with the whole class; the role of the teacher as the facilitator of communication; the use of authentic materials and a spiral learning process.

Course levels
The language courses offered by ItalCultura are created for the local needs and are recognized by Common European Framework for Languages as approved by the Council of Europe.

Profiency Levels
The curriculum of ItalCultura is based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). The CEFR is a guideline used to describe what learners of foreign languages need to do in order to communicate effectively in each language. CEFR facilitates the recognition of proficiency gained in different learning contexts and provides assessment of progress at each stage, and throughout a lifetime.

The CEFR divides learners into three broad divisions and six levels.

A – Basic User
A1 – Beginner
A2 – Elementary

B – Independent User
B1 – Intermediate
B2 – Upper Intermediate

C – Proficient User
C1 - Advanced
C2 – Mastery

All language courses are taught in Italian and students start speaking Italian from the very first day. All new students who are not absolute beginners will be assigned to their proper level through a written placement test and a short interview with one of our teaching supervisors.  An optional assessment test is always available for re-registering students.

Beginner classes

In the Beginner levels, students will manage key vocabulary and fundamental grammar, and will be able to read, write and speak about simple topics in the present, past and future tenses.

A1.1 Grammar coverage includes present tense of regular and some modal and irregular verbs, singular and plural nouns, articles and adjectives, some prepositions. Communication goals include: greeting and introducing oneself, asking for information, ordering something at the restaurant, expressing tastes and wishes. Classes meet once a week for ten weeks (20 hours).

A1.2 Grammar coverage includes regular and irregular verbs. Introduction to the simple past tense (passato prossimo), regular and irregular past participles; adjectives and pronouns; prepositions + article. Communication goals include: speaking about oneself, describing a place, asking for directions, talking about events in the past. Classes meet once a week for ten weeks (20 hours).

A1.3 Grammar coverage includes quantities, impersonal constructions, reflective verbs, direct pronouns. Communication goals include: telling time and date, expressing likes and dislikes, asking and answering questions regarding food, restaurants, shops, prices, clothes, colors. Classes meet once a week for ten weeks (20 hours).

Elementary classes
In the Elementary levels, students will develop linguistic skills, enhance their vocabulary and correctly apply grammar rules.

A2.1 Grammar coverage includes the use of "passato prossimo" and the agreement with the direct object pronouns; "imperfetto" and the progressive form; adverbs; indefinite, possessive adjectives and pronouns; combined pronouns, conditional, imperative, and gerund; the use of comparative and superlative adjectives and relative pronouns; the use of impersonal subjects (si, tu, uno); the use of some idiomatic expressions. Communication goals include: ongoing actions and habits in the past; physical descriptions; describing a situation; accepting or refusing a proposal. Classes meet once a week for ten weeks (20 hours).

A2.2 Grammar coverage includes the study of conditional, positive and negative imperative, and gerund; comparative and superlative adjectives and relative pronouns; the use of impersonal subjects. Communication goals include: explaining one’s intentions; expressing needs and opinions; talking about health and various events. Classes meet once a week for ten weeks (20 hours).

A2.3 Grammar coverage includes the study of the future, the present subjunctive of the regular and some irregular verbs, the “period ipotetico” (1st type), the comparative, some idiomatic constructions. Communication goals include: talking about one’s hopes and wishes, connecting events in the past and the future; giving permission, expressing disappointment, fear, grief, hope, enthusiasm, desire. Classes meet once a week for ten weeks (20 hours).

Intermediate classes
In the Intermediate levels, students will learn to fluently communicate in the Italian language, read a broad variety of texts, speak and understand Italian through a rich vocabulary and correctly apply grammar rules.

B1.1 Grammar coverage includes the review of the present subjunctive mode and the study of the past subjunctive; the past conditional; the “if” clause and the conditional; the "passato remoto"; the passive form. Communication goals include: asking for help; inquiring on the causes of something; insisting; apologizing; reporting somebody else’s speech; expressing agreement and disagreement on various topics; discussing Italy's current issues and facts. Classes meet once a week for ten weeks (20 hours).

B1.2 Grammar coverage includes nonostante, sebbene, malgrado + subjunctive; the past conditional, the “periodo ipotetico” (2nd type). Communication goals include: expressing opinions and describing events and situations thoroughly in the present, past and future, using accurate and appropriate vocabulary; discussing Italy's current issues and facts. Classes meet once a week for ten weeks (20 hours).

B2.1 Grammar coverage includes the “periodo ipotetico” (3rd type); the use of tenses with subjunctive; direct and indirect speech. Communication goals include: interacting thoroughly in complex situations, expressing one’s opinion in full, analyzing one action and its consequences. Classes meet once a week for ten weeks (20 hours). 

Advanced classes and culture classes 
In the Advanced levels, students who already speak well will perfect their grammar and improve their comprehension, conversation, and writing skills. Students will read and discuss literature, and converse about cinema, art, and Italian news and current events. Thanks to the affiliation with the Italian Cultural Institute, our students will have the opportunity to participate in exclusive book clubs and meet renowned Italian authors whose books will be read in class.

Conversation 1
This class is for the most basic levels (A1.1/2/3). Students can expect an engaging approach. Oral communication and pronunciation are emphasized!

Conversation 2
For those students at upper levels. This course is more freely structured than Conversation 1. It complements the standard Italian classes by allowing students to put into practice and to further develop their advanced conversational skills.

CILS Exam Preparation
ItalCultura offers intensive preparation courses for the CILS exam. CILS is often used to obtain acceptance into most Italian Universities or work-related aspirations. Students have the opportunity to test their Italian proficiency, and receive an official designation of their level of linguistic ability. This is a 9 week course (twice a week, 5 hours per week). Certification is awarded by the Università per Stranieri di Siena, and is recognized by the Italian Government on the basis of an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The CILS exam takes place in June and December at the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago.

Italian Opera
Deepen your comprehension of Italian language and culture through the study of great opera arias! Students will gain a unique opportunity to broaden their vocabulary and linguistic and cultural comprehension. According to the season of Lyric Opera of Chicago, classes will include an attendance of a live performance, at discounted rates.

Book Club
This class provides an overview of modern Italian literature. Students will improve their Italian through the reading of texts. A wide selection of authors, prose styles and genres will be covered, including short stories, mystery novels, and newspaper articles. Class discussion will emphasize reading comprehension and vocabulary building.

Italian for Travelers
With this 15 hour course, students will be prepared for their next trip to Italy by learning more of its language and culture. Efficient communication and idiomatic knowledge of everyday Italian will be a primary objective.

Italian Cinema
In this class, students will learn the Italian language through short films. A basic knowledge of Italian is required.