NUI Galway Promotes Italian Language and Culture in the West of Ireland

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Pictured with first year students from ‘The Bish’ secondary school are (middle row, l-r): Dr Mary Surlis, School of Education, NUI Galway; John Madden and Ciaran Doyle of The Bish; and Professor Paolo Bartoloni and Dr Francesca Magnoni, from the Discipline of Italian, NUI Galway.
Pictured with first year students from ‘The Bish’ secondary school are (middle row, l-r): Dr Mary Surlis, School of Education, NUI Galway; John Madden and Ciaran Doyle of The Bish; and Professor Paolo Bartoloni and Dr Francesca Magnoni, from the Discipline of Italian, NUI Galway.

NUI Galway’s Italian Studies and School of Education, and St Joseph’s Patrician College (The Bish) have initiated a collaboration which, if successful, will see the establishment of Italian language and culture course in secondary level schools in Galway. As part of this unique project entitled Andiamo, NUI Galway lecturer, Dr Laura McLoughlin and postgraduate student Dr Francesca Magnoni, have designed, and are currently teaching, an eight-week pilot intensive course in Italian with first year students at The Bish. To date 26 students have enrolled in the course.

Professor Paolo Bartoloni, Head of Italian at NUI Galway, said: “This initiative has the potential to make a strong contribution to the language proficiency and diversity of Galway and its region, provide continuity and the necessary link between primary, secondary and tertiary level, foster cross-cultural awareness, enhance exchanges between cultures, and strengthen business synergies between Italy and Ireland. Italian at NUI Galway is committed to offer innovative curricula, employing multimedia technologies and related skills developed during years of training and experience in the teaching of Italian as a second language. It is also looking forward to sharing this knowledge with the post primary school sector, establishing effective and productive collaboration between the University and schools in Galway.” 

At present, there is no Galway school offering Italian as a subject, despite of the growing presence of a vibrant Italian community in the city, and a growing interest in Italian Studies at NUI Galway. Currently Italian is present in primary schools through Community Based Learning, which is coordinated by NUI Galway, and is offered in undergraduate and postgraduate courses and lifelong learning courses with the evening Diploma in Italian at the University. An online Diploma in Italian is also currently being developed at NUI Galway.

Andiamo embraces the core elements of best practice and design currently in use in the intergenerational curricular model of Living Scenes* developed by NUI Galway’s Dr Mary Surlis. In this instance the focus will be on the intercultural element of the programme, promoting the sharing of language, culture and heritage and tradition through a structured eight-week pilot programme.

The President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, and the Ambassador of Italy, Dr Maurizio Zanini, will award certificates of attendance to the students on Friday, 11 May at a ceremony in Galway.

-ENDS-

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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