Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

This course aims at assisting students in acquiring key knowledge and the skills needed to teach and enhance the experience of Italian as a Second Language (ISL) in plurilingual formal settings. Specifically, by the end of the course, students are able to describe the development process of second language (L2) acquisition from different theoretical perspectives (psychological, linguistic, social and cultural theories). They are able to identify and use the distinguishing features characterizing key language teaching approaches, methodologies and techniques. They are able to observe, promote and assess L2 language learning and to plan and organize ISL teaching activities in Preschool and Primary school education. They know how to promote children’s discovery skills and ability to observe the coexistence of a plurality of cultural and linguistic codes.

Course contents

The general course goals refer to providing future teachers with the necessary tools to interpret language learning in early childhood and to promote the development of pupils learning Italian as a Second Language (ISL) in Preschool and Primary school, regardless of whether they come from foreign countries (NAI - new comers in Italy, or international adoption pupils), were born in Italy from families with a different mother tongue, etc.
Teaching Italian as a Second Language in Preschool and Primary schools is a 48-hour course, is divided into three modules and is worth 8 credits.
The first module on Language teaching (24 hours, Paola Polselli) illustrates the findings from linguistic, acquisitional and cognitive research on second language acquisition in Preschool and Primary schools. Main operational skills and issues are discussed and practiced while analyzing learners’ second language varieties (interlanguage) and their timing, skills necessary to observe and assess the stages of ISL interlanguage development. Attention is devoted to the selection, analysis and work on language aspects, abilities and levels to be learned as described in Italian Ministry of Education and European official documents. The course addresses the analysis of teaching actions and educational materials with reference to literature on second language teaching and learning in Preschool and Primary schools.
In the light of this knowledge, course activities will focus on the best way to grade learning objectives and linguistic input while favouring output and situated language usage in social and school settings. Teacher-talk features and different types of feedback as well as their adaptation to the learner’s needs and communicative competence will be discussed. Recognizing what distinguishes Focus on Meaning (FonM) vs. Focus on Form (FonF) learning tasks and activities, teaching actions will be analysed and evaluated in order to define which methodologies in ISL for children can prove more effective. The course will also focus on how to plan educational materials consistent with the intended objectives and how to produce educational materials respectful of early childhood characteristics, timing and ways of learning.

The second module on Italian as Second Language for learners of Chinese background (12 hours, Sabrina Ardizzoni) will focus on linguistic, cultural, and social aspects specifically relevant to young learners of Italian as Second Language of Chinese background.
We are going to address the following issues.
- Language: Chinese linguistics from an historical, typological, phonetic and grammatical point of view. The dialects of China. The adherence to a normative language in China and abroad. Chinese writing systems.
- The State: From “One Country, Two Systems” to “The New Silk Road”: an outline of the evolution of State in contemporary China and the impact on internal and overseas migrations.
- The family: Family as pivotal identity element in Chinese culture and the importance of kinship nets.
- School and educational frameworks: From the traditional schooling system to new educational models in the 20th century, and new educational opportunities in 21st century China.
- Teaching tools: The first phases of ISL learning of newly arrived children from China and linguistic teaching children of second – or third – generation Chinese: assessment, teaching-program projects, resources for teachers; the empowering of advanced language skills, the importance of a new culture, the relation with family and community.

In the third module on Italian as Second Language for learners of Arabic background (12 hours, Francesca Della Puppa), verranno delineati i possibili profili linguistici e culturali dei bambini provenienti dai paesi arabi, si definirà il contesto sociolinguistico di riferimento e saranno presentati i principali tratti culturali, nella loro complessità, in riferimento ad alcuni paesi specifici interessati da una emigrazione più intensa (Marocco/Tunisia/Egitto).
Si farà riferimento, poi, ai sistemi scolastici e alle riforme della scuola attuate negli ultimi anni con particolare attenzione alle metodologie e ai materiali utilizzati nell’insegnamento.
Verrà presentata la lingua araba nei suoi caratteri generali e in particolare si approfondiranno gli aspetti legati alle difficoltà di apprendimento dell’Italiano L2 nel contatto tra le due lingue. Si tratterà brevemente anche la valorizzazione della lingua araba come L1 nella scuola, in riferimento alla normativa italiana ed europea.
Ci si soffermerà, in ottica comparativa, sull’analisi degli errori delle produzioni linguistiche di arabofoni, per entrare nello specifico degli errori di natura interlinguistica.
Si vedranno tecniche e materiali didattici sia per percorsi di carattere interculturale, per un inserimento positivo nel gruppo classe, sia per gestire il percorso di apprendimento dell’Italiano L2 in modo efficace.


Module 1:

  • Andorno, C., Sordella, S. (2017), “Insegnare italiano nella classe plurilingue”, in E. Ardissino (a cura di) Insegnare e apprendere italiano nella scuola dell'infanzia e primaria, Milano, Mondadori Università, pp. 113-140.
  • Daloiso, M. (2009), I fondamenti neuropsicologici dell’educazione linguistica, Venezia, Cafoscarina, chs. 6 and 7, pp. 81-114, http://arcaold.unive.it/bitstream/10278/1188/1/DaloisoR.pdf .
  • Pallotti, G. (1998/2000), La seconda lingua, Roma, Bompiani (parti).
  • Troncarelli D. (2015), “L’italiano lingua di contatto”, in Diadori P., Palermo M., Troncarelli D. (2015), Insegnare l’italiano come seconda lingua, Roma, Carocci, chs. 4, pp. 93-118.
  • Whittle, A. (2015), “Focalizzare la forma: sviluppo della competenza linguistica nella classe multilingue della scuola primaria”, in Italiano LinguaDue, n. 2, pp. 13-35, https://riviste.unimi.it/index.php/promoitals/article/download/6802/6732.

Module 2:

  • Ardizzoni, S. (2012) Scritti di mediazione, cultura e lingua cinese, Libreria Bonomo Ed. (pp. 9-43);
  • Ardizzoni, S. (2009) “Istruzione ineguale: le scuole dei bambini migranti a Pechino. in Inchiesta, n.165 luglio-settembre 2009, pp. 52-60. http://www.inchiestaonline.it/2009/09/
  • Cecchini R. (2009) Lanterne Amiche. Immigrazione cinese e mediazione interculturale, Reggio Emilia, Diabasis, (le parti verranno indicate in classe).

Parte dei materiali su cui gli studenti saranno invitati a lavorare saranno tratti da:

  • Valentini, A. (1992) L'italiano dei cinesi. Questioni di sintassi, Milano, Guerini Studio
  • e da manuali di italiano L2 in uso nelle scuole.

Module 3:

  • Boussetta, A., (2001), “L’insegnamento fondamentale in Marocco: il ciclo primario”, https://www.itals.it/alias/l%E2%80%99insegnamento-fondamentale-marocco-il-ciclo-primario
  • Boussetta, A., (2006), “Le influenze della lingua e della cultura materna sull’insegnamento dell’italiano agli studenti marocchini”, http://www.ilnostropianeta.it/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/italiano-per-arabofoni-boussetta.pdf.
  • Della Puppa, F. (2006), Lo studente di origine araba, Perugia, Guerra, capp.1, 2, 3, pp. 8-60.
  • Della Puppa F., (2007), “Dall’analisi del contatto arabo-italiano L2 alle implicazioni glottodidattiche”, in Studi di Glottodidattica n. 3, Bari, pp. 22-40 http://ojs.cimedoc.uniba.it/index.php/glottodidattica/article/view/234.
  • Della Puppa, F. (2008), “Analisi del contatto arabo-italiano L2 su testi scritti in contesto di insegnamento formale”, in ITALS, n. 16, Perugia, Guerra, pp. 7-27.
  • Della Puppa, F. (2009), “Il ruolo della L1 nella formazione degli errori in L2: il caso del contatto arabo-italiano”, in ITALS, n. 20, Perugia, Guerra, pp. 27-45.
  • Rezzonico, M., (2008), “L’insegnamento dell’arabo come lingua d’origine: un percorso verso l’educazione interculturale”, in Branca P., Santerini M. (a cura di), Alunni arabofoni a scuola, Roma, Carocci, pp. 123-133.
  • Sidoli, R., (2008), “Appartenenza culturale e apprendimento dell’italiano L2: bambini arabofoni nella scuola italiana”, in Branca P., Santerini M. (a cura di), Alunni arabofoni a scuola, Roma, Carocci, pp. 107-122.

Some official reference documents:

Teaching methods

Mixed face-to-face teaching method (lectures, dialogic talk, group activities and peer feedback sessions, individual work).

Assessment methods

The final exam will evaluate the student’s proficiency in the course contents and will consist of two parts:

  • a written task on teaching materials (students will be asked to produce or analyze educational materials) aimed at assessing working practice knowledge (for more details please refer to the IOL platform);
  • a written examination (answers to open-ended questions; it is a 2-hour test) aimed at evaluating the student’s critical and theoretical knowledge of 5 topics related to the chapters and the essays on second language acquisition and second language teaching listed in bibliography.

To book an exam, please use AlmaEsami (the dedicated web application) and your University credentials.

The evaluation criteria encompass: relevance of content; extent and depth of concepts and of conceptual links; mastery of the skills necessary to analyze, discuss and produce educational material; accuracy in written production and terminology use.

Positive evaluation scores range from 18/30 to 30/30 (30/30 cum laude, in case of outstanding results).

  • A high or the maximum evaluation score (ranging from 27 to 30 cum laude) will be awarded to students who demonstrate full knowledge and mastery of theoretical and applied concepts and have a critical grasp of them (see course contents for Module 1, 2, 3 and related readings). Such students are highly accurate in their exposition and can use appropriate technical terminology.
  • Students who demonstrate a good grasp of theoretical and applied knowledge derived from course contents but who haven’t fully mastered linguistic, critical, discursive and terminological resources will be awarded a medium evaluation score (23-26).
  • A low evaluation score (18-22) will be awarded to students demonstrating a sufficiently secure mastery of theoretical and applied knowledge as described in course contents/bibliography, but exhibit a tottering control of the required linguistic, critical, discursive and terminological resources.

Teaching tools

Paper and digital texts (authentic materials from textbooks and websites relevant for Italian as a second language learning; dialogue transcriptions and examples from reference texts etc.); multimedia presentations; online and offline digital resources (iconic, audio and video resources).

Office hours

See the website of Paola Polselli

See the website of Sabrina Ardizzoni

See the website of Francesca Della Puppa