FAQs ON OUR APPROACH
TO TEACHING
 
  
 

 
 

The director of the school, Roberto Tartaglione, answers some Frequently Asked Questions on the courses:
 
 
 
LEVELS 

How many levels do you have?
We have seven levels: Elementary 1 (absolute beginners), Elementary 2 (false beginners), Intermediate 1, 2 and 3, and two advanced levels.  
 
How do these levels match the European Framework of Reference (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2)?
The European Framework is a very useful reference guide, however, we try to meet the needs of each individual student so they make the most of their course.

Will I have to take an entrance test?
Yes.


What is it like?
The entrance test will enable us to put you in the class and level that best suits you. It consists of a short written test and a brief conversation with me. Sometimes it may only take a few minutes to understand what is the best group for a given student.
 
Can I change group if I feel that the one I am in does not fit my level?
Sometimes a student may end up in a level that does not suit him/her.  Don’t worry, the teacher will be the first one to notice and they will let me know straight away. I have no problem in repeating a test or letting students change groups. 
 


TEACHERS

How can I communicate with teachers who don’t speak my language?
This is our job: we have been teaching Italian to thousands of students whose languages we don’t know. The difficulties in teaching a language may be many, but this is definitely not one of them.
 
 
What qualifications do the teachers have?
It is not easy to measure the “quality” of a teacher. All our teachers have a degree in arts and have been trained at this school, mostly by me - and for a long time. We have trained many teachers and have kept only a few of them: the best ones!
 
Will I have one or more teachers?
The teacher is usually one per group, at least during the first two weeks. However teachers may change after two weeks.

 

THE COURSE
 
Can I enrol and start a course on a different date?
This is not possible if you want to join the Elementary 1 courses: a few days difference can create a large learning gap between students. It can be done at the other levels. Please contact the school, if this is your situation. 
  
How big are the groups?
We start from a minimum of 2 students (in low season) to a maximum of 12 (in high season). But the average number of students is 7. 
  
How old are the students in this school?
We have people of all ages; younger people are usually here during their school or college holidays, more mature students may come at different times of the year. It all depends on time, class, and mainly…. by chance.
 
Can I continue studying, for longer than one month?
Yes. The new course you enrol in will always have a higher level than the one you have just finished.
 
 
Can I switch to a different kind of course, (for example, switch to an extensive course after starting in an intensive one), without losing my money?
This is not a problem, if we have the level you need. The sum you paid will go towards the new course.
 
If I enrol in an intensive four-week course, will I have the same teacher for the duration of the course?
Not necessarily. The class might be altered after the initial 2 weeks, depending on the results after the first 40 hours. Every 4 week-cycle is made of two learning cycles comprising two weeks each.   
 
Can I try out a class?
Of course. We are only happy to oblige.


TEACHING METHOD
  

Do we study grammar?
Yes, "pedagogic grammar", that is, some suggestions on how to be better at communicating in the target language. However, we consider grammar as a tool, not the goal of our classes. We don’t consider mistakes as the result of not studying grammar. Errors can occur for a variety of reasons not simply a lack of a grammar, grammar may even impede fluency, but this is a long discussion and can’t be explained in a few lines.

Do we get the chance to talk?
All the time. We are Italian!!!

How much time is devoted to grammar and conversation?
There is no distinction between the two; our goal is to get you communicating correctly. In order to do that, you will have to talk a lot and find a way of avoiding errors. 
 
Do you use the “communicative approach”?
The communicative approach is a milestone in the teaching of foreign languages, however, we don’t stick to a strictly communicative teaching approach.  
 
Which teaching approach do the teachers adhere to?
We don’t like labelling our teaching approach, we try to adapt to our students’ learning mode and needs, and our teaching strategy changes depending on this. I guess we could call our method a “cultural approach”, close to the “affective approach” currently used by the University of Venice.
 
Which textbook do you use?
There is no given textbook. Our teachers are trained to use different didactic material according to the needs of the group they have. Using a textbook would only slow down the group’s progress.
 
  
 
 
TYPES OF COURSE

I want to improve my writing skills. Which course is the best one for me?
If you need to improve one particular language skill, we recommend one-to-one classes.
 
Who should choose a one-to-one class?
Those who need to improve one main language area (written language, language for special purposes, phonetics, etc) or those who need to improve one particular skill (for those people who can understand the language well but need to concentrate on its structure – especially foreigners who have learnt Italian as a second language just by living in the country). One-to-one classes are also perfect for those who want to maximise their results in a short period of time. 

I want to improve my writing skills. Which course is the best one for me?
If you need to improve one particular language skill, we recommend one-to-one classes.
 

Who should choose a one-to-one class?
Those who need to improve one main language area (written language, language for special purposes, phonetics, etc) or those who need to improve one particular skill (for those people who can understand the language well but need to concentrate on its structure – especially foreigners who have learnt Italian as a second language just by living in the country). One-to-one classes are also perfect for those who want to maximise their results in a short period of time. 
 

Are one-to-one classes much more expensive?
An individual class is about three to four times more expensive than a group class. A group usually consists of about 7 students, so a group class can actually be cheaper, though not always suitable for everybody.
 

Isn’t four hours a day (an intensive course) a bit too much?
No. Our teachers are really good at keeping the classes interesting and exciting, so that our students are never too tired or stressed. Try it out!
 

I will be in Rome for two weeks only. Can I enrol in an extensive course?
Unfortunately, no. The minimum period for an extensive course is four weeks. With less (only two hours a week over a period of two weeks) you simply wouldn’t get good enough results. If you are staying for a short time, we recommend our intensive, super-intensive, or one-to-one courses.
 
I want to enrol in a course but I don’t know which type would best suit me.
Come to the school, take an entrance test, and have a chat with me. Together, we will find the best course for you. There is no need to choose in advance.
 

Can one-to-one or small group classes be held at my home, or in my office?
Yes. The teacher is paid a “transfer” sum, depending on the time needed to get to the location.
 

How do I pay?
Please check our enrolment information page.