Service Learning
A teaching tool connecting community and classroom

Service Learning in Italian

Service Learning in Italian


Course Director: Dr. Anne O'Connor

Dr. Anne O'Connor is a lecturer in Italian Studies at National University of Ireland, Galway. A graduate of University College Cork, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Birmingham, she teaches a range of language and literature classes in Galway. Her research interests include nineteenth century literature, travel literature and language teaching methodologies. She is responsible for First Year Italian, Diplomas in Italian and for the Service Learning element of the Italian degree programme.

Module Title: Community Based Learning: Language Teaching
Subject: ItalianYear: 3rd & 4th Year Students
Participants: 16 students
Hours: 24 hours (12 in the community) Credits: 5 ECTS
Length: 2 Semesters
Community Partners: Various Primary Schools in Galway. That have included Scoil Bhríde, Shantalla; Scoil an Linbh Iosa, Francis St; St. Nicholas NS, Claddagh; and Galway Educate Together NS, Newcastle.

This module teaches university students about language acquisition and language teaching methodologies before arranging for them to teach introductory classes in Italian in local primary schools. During the placement in the schools, the students develop a teaching portfolio and reflect on the experience of community based learning. Due to the nature of the practical work, there is a strong emphasis on language acquisition through fun and games. Primary school pupils see that language learning can be fun and learn about a new culture and language. At the end of the Italian course, the pupils come to the university for ‘Italian Day' during which they are presented with a certificate to mark their achievement in learning Italian. The module is for final year students, between 10 and 16 are enrolled on it each year and they work with about 100 pupils in Galway City. This course was awarded the prestigious European Language Label in 2007 for excellence and originality in language teaching.