Italian Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad I

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 

Proficiency at a level equivalent to IES Abroad’s Novice Abroad , as determined by placement test.


It 301 is the continuation of Italian 201 and helps students master with greater ease and self confidence more complex tasks. It covers the remaining elements of Italian language and culture and focuses on grammar, speaking, listening, reading and writing using a communicative direct approach to the language. It is a challenging and highly participatory course that rewards daily efforts by students. The pace is quick and lively but those who work regularly will be surprised by their considerable progress by the end. In general Italian will be the only language used in class. Many of you will find this difficult at first, but it will seem natural soon enough. Do not despair when you feel that some of your questions are not answered during class: the answer to complex grammar questions are available in your native language in the textbooks at the IES library and may be asked to the instructor outside of class. In class, concentrate on learning Italian! Your learning process will be faster.


Students entering this level must be able to fulfill the learning outcomes of the Novice Abroad level, as defined by the IES Abroad MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication. Specifically, they should already be able to express themselves on a variety of concrete, everyday topics and meet their basic needs in the language. Students who enter this level may be more proficient in reading and writing skills than oral communication, especially if they have never traveled or studied abroad previously. Although students may have been exposed previously to certain competencies taught at this level, they need additional practice and instruction to move toward mastery of these competencies.

As students gain more self-awareness and self-confidence, they will attempt more in the community. Paradoxically, this means they may also experience more miscommunications and frustration. Reading and writing require effort, and many students will need to commit themselves in this regard. Students will also develop cultural awareness and skills to work through the challenges of adaptation in the local culture and learn to celebrate their successes. Increasingly, they will appreciate the value of these language and intercultural skills. 

This course builds upon skills introduced in Novice Abroad. By the end of the course, the successful student will have begun to develop some communicative and cultural self- confidence necessary to attempt moderately complex tasks in the language, as described in the learning outcomes below.

Attendance policy: 

Regular class attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to attend classes each day, including course-related excursions.

IES Abroad Milano allows a maximum of TWO excused absences per semester. Each further absence will automatically result in a penalty of two points off (2/100) on the final grade. SEVEN absences per course (including 2 excused absences) will result in a failing grade for that course. Furthermore, an absence on the date of scheduled tests, presentations or quizzes does not entitle you to recover/reschedule such tests. Failure to attend your midterm and/or final exam will result in an F grade on that paper/exam.

Learning outcomes: 

Students who are placed in this level should be capable of achieving the outcomes in the Novice Abroad level as defined by the IES Abroad MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication.

By the end of the course students will be able to achieve the outcomes for the Emerging Independent Abroad level as defined by the MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication. The key learning outcomes from the MAP are summarized below:

  1. Intercultural Communication
    1. Students will be able to solve some daily troublesome situations and meet needs with limited help.
    2. Students will be able to make some informed comparisons between the host culture and the students’ home cultures.
    3. Students will be able to distinguish between verbal and nonverbal communication that reflects politeness, formality, or informality.
    4. Students will be able to recognize simple patterns of intonation and their meaning. 
  2. Listening
    1. Students will be able to understand some interactions (media, speeches, music, directives, conversations, etc.), especially if the speaker is used to interacting with non-native speakers.
    2. Students will be able to understand direct requests, questions, and simple conversations on familiar and concrete topics.
  3. Speaking
    1. Students will be able to talk to a limited extent with and about persons and about things in their immediate environment, and they will be able to discuss their plans, wishes, and experiences.
    2. Students will be able to address moderately complicated situations involving familiar subjects.
  4. Reading
    1. Students will be able to read passages and short texts (notes, lyrics, uncomplicated literary passages, detailed instructions, etc.) on familiar topics and understand the general meaning.
    2.  Students will actively support their understanding of texts through the use of context, visual aids, dictionaries, or with the assistance of others in order to facilitate comprehension.
  5. Writing
    1. Students will be able to communicate with some effectiveness through notes, emails, and simple online discussions and chats.
    2. Students will be able to write short essays on concrete topics of limited levels of complexity, with reliance on the communicative patterns of their native language.
Method of presentation: 

The approach to learning is communicative and direct, designed for an immediate use of the Italian language. In class, students are asked to repeat and re-use new language expressions in different situations, so that at the end of the lesson they can observe the way the language works and then find out the basic grammar rule on their own. This way the learning process is stimulating for students who are never considered as passive recipients, but active users of the language for their immediate needs. The teacher will always help during the process and will give you time to find the right answer. During class activities students will often work in pairs or small groups. They will collaborate with each other in order to find out answers and solve problems; this way they also have an opportunity to socialize and learn from classmates in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. This is meant to encourage participation, enthusiasm toward learning the language while reducing anxiety; students can help each other to succeed before surrendering and asking the teacher for assistance.


Italian will be the only language used in class. Pledge for Italian only in class: the students of this class formally commit themselves to the use of only the Italian language in class. For a limited time only (the intensive period) those who feel the need for explanations in English can come after class. Extra credit will be considered for those who have maintained the pledge of Italian only.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Quiz 1: 5%
  • Final intensive Test 10%
  • Oral presentation 10%
  • Quiz 2: 5%
  • Midterm Exam 15%
  • Listening Comprehension 10%
  • Oral presentation 10%
  • Final Exam 20%
  • Class attendance (field studies included), weekly assignments, active participation through discussion, reading and writing 10%
  • Cultural activities 5%

On request, after completion of midterm exam students will receive via email their grade breakdown so far and they will discuss it with the teacher. Students will be required to enter the Moodle course page on regular bases in order to access readings, exercises, and any other regular or extra material.





Corresponding Learning Outcome(s)

Week 1

  1. Functional: review of basic functions
  2. Grammatical: nouns, articles, present tense, present progressive, interrogatives, possessive adjectives and pronouns, pronunciation
  3. Vocabulary: review of basic vocabulary
  4. Culture: living in Italy, food and habits

*E.B. Unit 1,2,3,4,7
Reading comprehension, listening exercises
Quiz 1: Sept. 14

Ia, Ib, IIa,IIb, IIIa, IVa

Week 2

  1. Functional: talking about yourself, your life, your experiences, describing places
  2. Grammatical: reflexive verbs, comparatives and superlatives, demonstratives, prepositions, adverbs, present perfect, direct pronouns
  3. Vocabulary: the house, the city, traveling descriptions, the body
  4. Culture: famous Italians

*E.B. Unit 5,6,8,9, 12 **B.G.P. Unit 1
Reading comprehension, descriptions
Final intensive test: Sept. 19

Ia, IIb, Ia, IIIa, Iva

Week 3

  1. Functional: short answers with pronouns, expressing likes/dislikes
  2. Grammatical: indirect pronouns, piacere, ci, ne, double pronouns
  3. Vocabulary: transportation means, good/bad luck
  4. Culture: Italian holidays and legends

*E.B. Unit 10
Listening comprehension

Ib, IIb, IIIa

Week 4

  1. Functional: telling stories, talking about past habits and experiences
  2. Grammatical: imperfect vs present perfect
  3. Vocabulary: fashion, jobs, writing a CV
  4. Culture: song lyrics, Italian fashion

*E.B. Unit 15, 17, **B.G.P. Unit 2
Oral presentation: October 3

Ic, IIb, IVa

Week 5

  1. Functional: Talking about future projects
  2. Grammatical: present and anterior future, past perfect tense
  3. Vocabulary: colloquial expressions, idioms
  4. Culture: Italian proverbs

*E.B. Unit 11, B.G.P.

Unit 4

Ic, IIb, IIIa, IVa, Va

Week 6

  1. Functional: giving advice
  2. Grammatical: imperative forms and commands with pronouns
  3. Vocabulary: sports and games
  4. Culture: Italian recipes and pastimes

*E.B. Unit 11,

**B.G.P. Unit 3

Quiz 2: October 17

Ic, IIb, IIIb, Iva, Va

Week 7

  1. Functional: explaining how things work
  2. Grammatical: impersonal forms, relatives, indefinites
  3. Vocabulary: stereotypes, using the phone
  4. Culture: Italian gestures

*E.B. Unit 14,19;

**B.G.P. Unit 5

Ic, IIa, IIIb, IVa, Vb

Week 8

  1. Functional: expressing wishes and regrets
  2. Grammatical: present and past conditional
  3. Vocabulary: street signs and driving
  4. Culture: Italian advertisements

*E.B. Unit 13

phonetic and intonation activities

Ib, Id, IIa, IIIa, IVa, Va

Week 9

Intensive review

Midterm exam: November 9


Week 10

1. Functional: expressing opinions

2. Grammatical: present and past subjunctive

3. Vocabulary: utensils, the climate, geography

4. Culture: Italian newspapers

**B.G.P. Unit 6

Supplementary material

Ib, IIa, IIIb, IVb, Vb

Week 11

  1. Functional: expressing past opinions, wishes, fears, hopes
  2. Grammatical: imperfect and past perfect subjunctive
  3. Vocabulary: speech signals
  4. Culture: Italian movies

Supplementary material
Oral exam: November 23

Ic, Id, IIb, IIIa, IVb

Week 12

  1. Functional: expressing wishes and regrets
  2. Grammatical: hypothetical forms
  3. Vocabulary: the computer, cognates
  4. Culture: Italian way of life

Supplementary material
Writing activities

Ic, IIa, IIIa, Ivb, Vb

Week 13

General review

Listening comprehension
Mock test: December 3


Week 14

Final exam

Final exam:
December 10



Required readings: 
  • E.Ercolino, T.A.Battaglia - L'utile e il dilettevole. Esercizi e regole per comunicare 1, Loescher R.Bozzone **Costa, C.Ghezzi, M.Piantoni Contatto 2A Livello intermedio, Loescher Supplementary material will be provided by the teacher or available on the Moodle course page. This may include games, readings, song lyrics, listening exercises, Italian movies, etc.
Previous Course Name: 
(Formerly IT 200 Intermediate Italian)