Yesterday I wrote about setting next year’s learning goals.
Let’s assume you’ve done that, you’ve decided on some specific goals for improving your Italian over the coming twelve months.
You’ve calculated the approximate number of hours you’ll put in during that time, perhaps comprising a combination of an Italian evening course in your home town and a summer course in Italy.
You’ve estimated the level you should be able to reach in the time you have available.
So far, so good.
I’m sure the time you spend studying here in Bologna will be the highlight of your learning year!
But it may not necessarily be the most important part…
You’ll get much more out of an Italian course if you combine it with self-study before you come, and follow up on it once you’ve returned home.
Doing some Italian BEFORE you come to Italy means you’ll be in a position to interact in Italian as much as possible during your stay.
And continuing to work on the language AFTER your course has finished means you’ll be maximising it’s value by consolidating what you’ve learnt and building on the progress made.
An evening course in your home town could (should) be part of that, but it’s likely to be just one element of an effective strategy.
What will really make the difference to your progress is the work you do outside of class.
Unlike with an organised group, the work you do alone is an opportunity to focus on your particular weaknesses. What’s more, you can personalise texts and vocabulary according to your interests.
Let’s suppose you love cooking (as well as languages), and that you have difficulty understanding spoken Italian when you hear it.
A course might touch on your culinary passions and give you SOME help with listening, but it’s unlikely to be as effective a use of your time as targeted self-study could be.
So, besides participating in a course or courses, what should you include in your 2018 study plan to accelerate your progress with Italian?
- an easy option to start with is to follow one of the free online courses available. Duolingo.com is good for beginners. OnlineItalianClub.com has masses of material, too
- as soon as you get beyond the beginners’ stage, do consider taking some online lessons. Feel the difference a few hours of intensive practice can make!
- nothing offers better value than reading and listening. Easy readers at your level are an excellent and affordable way to supplement a regular Italian course, online study, or online lessons
- and for intermediate and advanced students? You simply MUST be working on authentic Italian texts (websites, newspapers, magazines, books) and, to build your listening skills even further, listening or watching TV
So, for the cook who has lousy listening skills, the conjuntivo can wait!
Instead, consider creating a study plan which includes watching Italian cooking videos, studying Italian cookery books, and perhaps talking about recipes with an online teacher.
Perhaps you won’t want to attempt all of this at once, and certainly not if you’re just starting out with Italian.
But do be careful not to get stuck in the rut with just the one form of self-study, especially if you’re repeating the same material over and over.
As you progress and improve, it’s important that you try different ways of studying, and different types of materials.
A free course like Duolingo.com, for example, can be fun and satisfying but will only take you so far.
There comes a time when you have to let go of the side of the pool and swim!
My own 2018 study plan looks something like this:
- consolidate what I have learnt by finishing my study workbook to the end of A2, then beginning the B1 level
- develop a reading/listening habit through daily visits to a website that offers simplified materials for learners
- continue with one-to-one lessons, which activate what I’m learning and help me build communicative skills (I like to talk about my work and learn the words to describe it better)
- and finally, I’m planning a trip so I can practice everything I’ve learnt!
That’s it for today.
Tomorrow, we’ll cover what sort of Italian course you should choose.
You’ll have heard by now that December is the month when we run our popular ‘Best Offer Of The Year’ on Italian courses over the coming twelve-month period.
This week only save 20% on group Italian courses of any length starting in 2018 at our school in Bologna, Italy.
- Just pay the ‘Winter Offer – 20%’ course deposit (€120, instead of the usual €150)
- You’ll save 20%, not just on the deposit, but on the whole cost of your course
- The offer applies to group courses only, not to individual or online lessons
- Your course can be of any length: the longer you study, the more you learn
- No need to decide the dates of your course now, just email us when you know
- The promotion ends on Christmas Day (25th December 2017).
Here’s how to save 20% on your 2018 course:
- choose your Italian course and check the price
- research flights to Bologna and accommodation
- check out our simple booking process
- pay your course / accommodation deposit in our online shop
- and that’s it – you’ve locked in a fantastic 20% discount on your 2018 Italian course!
You should find everything you need to know about studying Italian in Bologna on our website:
But if not, email Stefania with your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org