University Students Bring Italian to Primary Schools

Monday, 6 April 2009

Some 95 primary school children who received introductory Italian language classes taught by NUI Galway students were awarded certificates at a recent 'Italian Day' on campus. The six-week Italian course was delivered in schools in Galway city by a group final year Arts students as part of a 'service-learning' programme under the umbrella of the University's Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI). In excess of 25 degree programmers offer service-learning modules at the University and aim to enhance partnership with the wider community. Service-learning allows students practical learning opportunities which also benefit the community. The primary schools involved in the programme were: St Nicholas National School, Claddagh; Scoil an Linbh √ćosa, St Francis Street; and Galway Educate Together National School, Newcastle. None of the children had any previous knowledge of Italian and for many it was their first experience learning a continental European language, so the aim was on language teaching through fun and games. Dr Anne O'Connor of the Italian Department at NUI Galway, who coordinated the project, commented on the success of the service-learning programme, "This is an innovative way of providing exposure to modern languages in primary schools at no extra cost to the school involved with benefits for all parties. The University students benefit by getting involved in community and gaining practical teaching experience. Primary school children benefit from increased exposure to modern languages so that when they progress to second level, they will not be daunted by the prospect of learning a new language".
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