06490 - Foreign Language Teaching

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Foreign Languages and Literature (cod. 0979)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be able to describe the fundamental stages of the second language (L2) learning process; to identify factors that promote L2 learning; to know the main theories and descriptive models of language; to describe the pedagogical models in L2 teaching and their specific methods and techniques; to know some of the most relevant technological resources for language teaching, both for ‘face-to-face and ‘distance' teaching.

Course contents

The course aims at introducing the theoretical knowledge and pedagogical skills which are required from professional language teachers; thus, it guides students to understand the processes and the variables that affect language learning and teaching.

The first part of the course will focus on the main theories of first (L1) and second (L2) language acquisition; it will give special attention to those hypotheses which - among the many factors involved in L2 acquisition - highlight the role played by micro-social factors (e.g., quality of input and interaction, communication dynamics) and macro-social variables (for example, identity and language learning, multilingual uses and social participation).

Secondly, the course will provide students with historical coordinates about L2 teaching, through an excursus on teaching methods and approaches. Moreover, the fundamental features of the teaching process will explored: analysis of students' communicative needs, teaching objectives, curriculum and syllabus planning, teaching activities and techniques, teaching acts, class interaction.

Finally, a critical reflection of the goals of language education will be stimulated, and the international debate about intercultural language education explored in class (the language-culture nexus in language use and learning, the concept of ‘intercultural communicative competence’, etc.).


  • Pallotti, G. (1998),La seconda lingua, Milano: Bompiani. [entire book] [337 pp.];
  • Nuzzo, E. & Grassi, R. (2016),Input, output e interazione nell’insegnamento delle lingue, Torino: Bonacci-Loescher. [entire book] [160 pp.];
  • Ellis, R. (2015), Understanding Second Language Acquisition. II ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Chapter 9 “Social aspects of second language acquisition”] [34 pp.];
  • Chini, M. & Bosisio, C. (2014), Fondamenti di Glottodidattica: apprendere e insegnare le lingue oggi, Roma: Carocci. [Chapter 4 “La didattica della L2”] [72 pp.];
  • Borghetti, C. (2016), Educazione linguistica interculturale: Origini, modelli, sviluppi recenti, Roma/Bologna: Caissa Italia. [parts I e III] [96 pp.].

Further readings for attending and non-attending students

Students are considered ‘attending’ if they have taken part in at least 70% of classes.

  • Attending students are required to study the slides projected in class (slides can be downloaded from Insegnamenti Online);
  • Besides the bibliography reported above, non-attending students are required to study:
  1. King, K. A. & Mackey, A. (2008), L’acquisizione linguistica, Bologna: Il Mulino. [entire book] [pp. 122].
  2. Borghetti, C. (2018), “Otto criteri per analizzare la dimensione (inter)culturale dei manuali di lingua: il caso dell’italiano L2/LS”. In Tabaku Sörman, E., Torresan, P., & Pauletto, F. (Eds.), Paese che vai, manuale che trovi, Firenze: Cesati, pp. 81-100 [19 pp.].
  3. Studying the course slides is also recommended.

Additional (optional) readings

  • Consiglio d’Europa (2002 [2001]), Quadro Comune Europeo di Riferimento per le Lingue: apprendimento, insegnamento, valutazione, Firenze: La Nuova Italia. The English version is available HERE.
  • Council of Europe (2020), Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: learning, teaching, assessment - Companion volume, Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Available HERE.
  • GISCEL (1975) “Dieci tesi per l'educazione linguistica democratica”. Available HERE.
  • Masini, F. & Grandi, N. (2017) (a cura di), Tutto ciò che hai sempre voluto sapere sul linguaggio e sulle lingue, Roma/Bologna: Caissa Italia.

Teaching methods

Teaching will take place through lectures and workshops (analysis of video-recorded language classes, students’ reports on small research projects, designing of teaching units).

Assessment methods

Learning will be assessed by means of a short essay and an oral exam.

  • In order to be admitted to the oral exam, students are required to write a short essay (approx. 10 pages) focusing on an in-depth analysis of a specific topic. This implies referring to further specialist readings. Students are invited to discuss the topic of their short essays with the teacher, before starting working on it. Concerning the text formatting, they are expected to follow the guidelines provided in the Vademecum of the Department of Languages, and in particular the reference style ‘author-date’ (autore-data); the Vademecum is available HERE. N.B. Students need to submit the essay via email at least one week before the chosen date for the oral examination; this deadline is peremptory, and failure to submit the essay in time may lead to exclusion from the examination.
  • The oral examination is aimed at evaluating the students’ knowledge and competences related both to the theoretical and to the practical issues related to learning and teaching a second language.

Assessment criteria:

The short essays will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Text coherence (including the congruence between text title, objectives and themes);
  • Text clarity and readability;
  • Degree of analysis of the topic;
  • Terminological appropriateness;
  • Relevance of the bibliographical sources of the topic (including their degree of reliability and extent to which they are up-to-date);
  • Correctness of form and attention to detail (also in respect of formatting choices).

During the oral exam, the following features will be evaluated:

  • Extent of knowledge concerning content;
  • Skills of synthesis and argumentation;
  • Terminological appropriateness;
  • Degree of autonomy in analysing phenomena related to language learning and teaching.

Teaching tools

Different sets of slides will be projected during each class; students can download them weekly form  Insegnamenti Online. Workshops entail the use of additional tools, including printed handouts (grids for analysis, surveys, etc.), web sites, and web resources for language teaching.

Office hours

See the website of Claudia Borghetti


Quality education Reduced inequalities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.