Sangora Language Award 2014 - Rosaria Rossi
The Sangora Language Teacher Award was granted at a time which was most fortuitous; one week before my departure for a planned study trip to Italy where I was to reside for three months while studying, on unpaid leave.
I had already enrolled in the Overseas Language Studies Unit, through the University of New England (NSW), which would be undertaken at the University of Macerata, Italy. This unit was offered as part of a long-running agreement between the universities and it would complete my Bachelor of Arts Degree. Being in the country of the language I was teaching would enable me to, not only complete my BA, but also immerse myself in the language and culture, with materials and resources suitable for teaching Italian in the environment. Upon my return from Italy, I finalised and presented the resources to a group of fifty teachers. They were very positive with the resources and felt they could include them into their own programs.
While in Macerata, I attended daily Italian lectures which improved my knowledge of current language use and the development of different cultural dimensions. I also increased my vocabulary and grammar, as well as established a number of professional contacts which will now continue to enhance my program delivery at school. Living in Macerata gave me the opportunity to film everyday life, as well as take photos, which are proving to be invaluable in lesson delivery for variety and authenticity.
While in Macerata, I also identified and asked a Catholic primary school to allow me to film their lessons in order demonstrate how to incorporate them into making more authentic and current resources. The materials gathered in Italy have now been edited and are included in the resource package which I presented and shared with other teachers. The resources are now available to teachers online and I have had feedback from teachers who tell me they have accessed and successfully used them in their own classrooms.
Following this work, I am establishing a virtual communication partnership with a school teaching Kindergarten to Year 5 elementary in Macerata. Students from my school, who are learning Italian, will be able to interact through various communication technologies with students in Macerata. This will not only improve the language learning for both groups but will also increase their socio-cultural dimensions and will lead to a more direct experience of second language acquisition.
The Sangora scholarship has enabled me to develop more authentic and up to date resources, as well as establish a partner school with a second language learning area. I have updated my own second language skills and socio-cultural awareness; increased linguistic competence and currency; developed a number of quality resources which are shared with other teachers; and, finally, students have, as a result of my establishing a partner school in Italy, ongoing linguistic and cultural experiences. These outcomes will enable students to develop higher order skills and to operate in a linguistically enriched environment.