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ITALIAN STUDIES - "Le Avventure di Pinocchio" retold: Dialogues prepared by the students of Italian 104 and 210"

Event Type
Dept. of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese
Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Languages Building
Dec 7, 2013   2:00 - 4:00 pm  
Originating Calendar
School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics Calendar

The students of Italian 104 and 210 are working this semester on the dramatizations of some dialogues from Collodi's famous book "Le avventure di Pinocchio". All students have some familiarity with this mischievous puppet with human abilities whose nose grows every time he tells a lie, but the first thing they encounter is a big difference between the Hollywood Pinocchio of their childhood, and the new Pinocchio of the original classical novel: both great works, but completely different in spirit! Italian 104, a fourth semester course of Italian language, focuses on regional  Italian geography, aiming at content based language learning with a social geography framework.  Italian 210, on the other hand, is a practical review of Italian grammar, hence its purpose is not knowledge of grammar as a structural set of paradigms and rules separated from the practical language, but as the soul of the language that serves for communication at all levels and styles. Therefore students of both courses can get a lot from the rich and colorful language of Pinocchio! It teaches them new vocabulary and structures in a natural and idiomatic way, it brings them to the reality of communicating of the home, of the street, of the school and of the soft spoken Fata with blue hair. They have just started to work with it, and seem to love it. Right now they have selected the dialogues and are starting to work with the vocabulary, grammar and content of the parts. At some point of the semester, when they grow more accustomed to the language and character of Pinocchio, the students will watch the film Pinocchio" of Benigni, who is more known in the US from his film "Life is beautiful". At the end of the month we will start working on the intonation and recitation abilities. In the process, the students learn about Italian dialects, culture, crafts, history and ethical attitudes. On December 7 there will be a demonstration of their dialogues in Lucy Ellis Lounge, and students of Italian from other courses of the Italian program will be invited. Every student of these two courses will participate in the dialogues, in spite of the level of proficiency in Italian which naturally varies, and they are all happy to be part of it. Their experience with the selection and dramatization of the dialogues will be part of their oral exam after the performance,  thus integrating and unifying different aspects of the course and of the final evaluation of the students.  The project started as a collaboration effort of Italian Studies here with a non-profit organization based in Rome called "In Migrazione". "In Migrazione" teaches Italian to immigrants that have recently arrived in Italy, using some of the most advanced methods in psycholinguistics and second language teaching, and their exercises about Pinocchio, which they are sharing with our students, are a great product of this approach. Their ideology of teaching and learning with and from the immigrants and in solidarity with them, hence the name "In Migrazione", and their progressive concept of sharing all the results of their work with anybody with the goal of social and peaceful advancement, has touched me personally as an Italian instructor and as an ex-emigrant many years ago in Italy, at a time in which this segment of the Italian institutional worldview was completely missing from the intellectual scene. It is important for our students to learn about such progress in the Italian culture as well, so they will be exposed to the In Migrazione webpage, as they work on Pinocchio, a story that celebrates universal values and humanity. This way our students, while learning Italian, share and enforce their values of respect and understanding towards others and towards difference in general.

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