88367 - Teaching Italian as L2 for Infant and Primary School

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Paola Polselli

  • Learning modules Paola Polselli (Modulo 1)
    (Modulo 2)
    Monica D'Argenzio (Modulo 3)

  • Credits 8

  • SSD L-FIL-LET/12

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures (Modulo 1)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo 3)

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Primary teacher education (cod. 8540)

    Also valid for Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Primary Teacher Education (cod. 5711)


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

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2023/2024

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 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 ISL learning and to plan and organize ISL teaching activities in Infant 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

Teaching Italian as a Second Language in Infant and Primary schools is a 48-hour course, divided into three modules and worth 8 credits.

In the first module on Language teaching (24 hours, Paola Polselli), the different dimensions of bi/plurilingualism in childhood are considered. In particular, discussion and activities will focus on:

  • types of plurilingual competence and individual or external to the learner factors
  • the learner's plurilingual profile and second language learning at Infant and Primary level
  • needs analysis and goals setting in language learning and teaching
  • acquisitional linguistics and interlanguage analysis
  • the main theories on language learning and the approaches or teaching methods derived from them
  • narrative competence, reading and text comprehension and metalinguistic skills
  • the presence of unknown languages in the classroom as an opportunity for language education
  • analysis and design of teaching and learning materials for ISL in the multilingual classroom.

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 ISL 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.

The third module of Italian for Arabic speakers (12 hours, Monica d'Argenzio) aims to provide a theoretical and methodological overview of the teaching of the ISL for Arabic speakers. The topics will be the following.

  • The Arabic world: a socio-cultural and linguistic area with 1000 faces
  • The Arabic language: its main features
  • Arabic-speaking students in the Italian school. Types of learners: children, adolescents, adults
  • Teaching Italian to Arabic-speaking learners: glottodidactic, intercultural and linguistic strategies
  • Productive skills and Arabic-speaking learners
  • Case studies on how Arabic-speaking students learn.


International and exchange learners are welcome to join this course: their contribution will enrich the discussion on the many dimensions of second language learning and teaching. Command of the Italian language equal to or higher than level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is required in order to ensure full class participation.


Module 1:

  • Garofolin B., Trubnikova V., Oltre l’italiano di base. Insegnare l’italiano L2 per lo studio a scuola, Mondadori Università, 2022.
  • Slides provided by the lecturer.

Module 2:

  • Andorno, C. ( 2010), “Lo sviluppo della morfosintassi in studenti cinesi,” in S. Rastelli, (a cura di), Italiano di cinesi, italiano per cinesi: dalla prospettiva della didattica acquisizionale, Perugia, Guerra, pp. 89-122.
  • Ardizzoni, S., Omodeo, M. "L’istruzione dei sinodiscendenti nelle scuole italiane: tracce e percorsi", in Sinosfere-Sinografie, Numero 15, Ottobre 2022. https://sinosfere.com/2022/10/16/sabrina-ardizzoni-e-maria-omodeo-listruzione-dei-sinodiscendenti-nelle-scuole-italiane-tracce-e-percorsi/

  • Slides provided by the lecturer.

Module 3:

  • Mion G. "L'arabo" in Ilaria Fiorentini, Chiara Gianollo, Nicola Grandi (a cura di) "La classe plurilingue" , Bononia University Press, Bologna 2020; pp. 175-192
  • Sotgiu Licia M. "Il plurilinguismo arabo e l’apprendimento dell’italiano" in Vedovelli M. (a cura di) L’italiano dei nuovi italiani. Atti del XIX Convegno Nazionale del Giscel, Siena (7-9 aprile 2016), Aracne, Roma 2017; pp. 111-126.
  • Slides provided by the lecturer.

Teaching methods

Lectures, dialogic talk, case studies, 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 examination (answers to open-ended and/or closed-ended questions) aimed at evaluating the student’s critical and theoretical knowledge related to the chapters and the essays on second language acquisition and second language teaching listed in the bibliography; non-attending students will answer to 4 open-ended questions;
- a practice-based task aimed at assessing applied knowledge (students will be asked to analyse interlanguage samples or teaching materials and devise related teaching materials), to be performed in written form (attending students) or in oral form (non-attending students). The analysis grid provided for the teaching materials has been adapted from Cortés Velásquez D., Faone S., Nuzzo E. (2017), "Analizzare i manuali per l’insegnamento delle lingue: strumenti per una glottodidattica applicata" in Italiano LinguaDue, v. 9, n. 2.

To be considered an 'attending student' it is necessary to attend 70% of the lessons.
International and exchange learners may request customized final examination arrangements. To do so, please arrange a meeting with the module 1 teacher (write an e-mail to Paola Polselli).

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/oral 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

See the website of Monica D'Argenzio