How To Become A Middle School Math Teacher In Ga Teaching English in Italy: Some Challenges That Italian Language Learners Face When Learning English

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Teaching English in Italy: Some Challenges That Italian Language Learners Face When Learning English

I spent years studying the Italian language and running an Italian social club in Atlanta, Georgia. For 21 years I was an English as a Second Language (ESOL) teacher in several American schools. I later worked in Italy as an English teacher for Italian students while writing articles, poetry and short fiction in my spare time. The aim of this article is to offer ESOL and TEFL teachers some advice on the challenges Italian speakers often encounter when learning English. Each and every group of people with a unique language background faces their own challenges, but there are specific mistakes that most beginners and intermediate Italian learners of English tend to make. If not corrected in the early stages, these mistakes will later be difficult to unlearn.

Until a student reaches an intermediate level of proficiency, it is difficult to explore English literary analysis. This is why the first six months focus mainly on reading, writing, listening and speaking with some attention to grammar. I often use a bit of grammar to explain the basic rules before putting those rules into practical use for direct communication. Most Italian students are very concerned about grammar, although it is clear that you cannot rely on grammar alone to speak fluently and clearly. Having had many experiences with English and Italian, I have divided the main challenges Italians face into four categories: (1) problems with the use of gerunds, -ing verbs and infinitives; (2) problems with the use of phrasal verbs; (3) challenges with the pronunciation of “-ed” and “th”; (3) issues distinguishing between when to use the present and the present continuous; and (4) the innate concern of Italian students to learn the conditional tenses.

First of all, it is not easy for Italian speakers to decide which verbs should be followed by an -ing verb and which verbs should be followed by an infinitive verb. If teachers explore the Internet, they can find lists of those verbs that require them to be followed by -ing or infinitive forms. If students spend some time practicing these gerunds and infinitives that follow other verbs, they will do much better on tests such as the TOEFL and IALTs. Since students usually don’t know where to find these lists of verbs followed by gerunds and infinitives, it will be worth your time to find them for your students and to keep them in your files for when they come in handy. Students can learn to use these verbs correctly by practicing them. For example, the verbs “agree” and “consent” must be followed by infinitives. So one says, “I agree to sign the paper, and I agree to buy the books.” On the other hand, the verbs “admit” and “practice” must be followed by gerunds. Therefore, one says, “I acknowledge that I have hidden the present, and I practice the dance.”

One of the reasons Italians report difficulty using prepositions is due to the many phrasal English verbs that include prepositions as part of the verb. Examples include: put on, hold, put on and take off. Students need to understand that phrasal verbs are like single words that work as a pair to create a unit with a specific meaning. All you have to do is change the preposition after the verb and the meaning of the verb will change completely. It is helpful to provide students with a list of common phrasal verbs and encourage them to begin studying these pairs rather than introducing a few at a time. There are numerous lists available on the Internet and in books, so the sooner students become familiar with phrasal verbs, the better off they will be in the long run. English has an extensive list of phrasal verbs that can be easily confused.

The “th” sound is usually very difficult for Italians because this sound does not exist in their language. Fortunately, most Italians learn the “th” sound when they have a native speaker give them one-on-one pronunciation lessons. It doesn’t seem like a big obstacle, but if one doesn’t point out the correct sound to Italian speakers from the start, chances are they’ll keep making the “t” or “d” sounds where they would. it is usually pronounced “th” and this causes the wrong words to be pronounced as “tree” instead of “three”. Once students have tackled the “th” and -ed sounds, they will be able to express themselves with much more confidence.

It is essential to point out to Italian students that the -ed at the end of gerunds and adjectives is usually a “t” or “d” sound, unless -ed follows “t” or “d”. In other words, a term like “skipped” is pronounced “skip” since the letter “e” remains silent. The word “played” sounds like “playd” without the letter “e”. Students benefit from learning the correct pronunciation early on because these mistakes become more difficult to correct later. It can be quite difficult for speakers of a phonetic language like Italian to grasp the concept that English is not just a phonetic language, but has other sound patterns quite different from its spellings. These patterns include digraphs such as mb and th or trigraphs such as dge, tch and chr.

The problems faced by Italians learning English often differ from the problems faced by Spanish speakers learning English. Fortunately, Italians do not pronounce the “es” sound before vowels, a common Spanish mistake, as in “eSpanish” or “especial”. Instead, Italians tend to add the “h” sound to some words, between two vowels, when the “h” is not needed as in “go h-away” and leave out the “h” sound at the beginning of many words . like “house”. The words “angry” and “hungry” are often mispronounced to convey wrong messages.

One of the first aspects of verb tenses that I explain in class is how English speakers consistently use the present continuous and how its use differs from the present simple. Any English speaker who has studied Italian thoroughly knows that Italians use the simple present to describe almost every action they describe that refers to the present moment. While English speakers use the present tense to describe objects in the room, to describe common events, and to tell a story they have already read, English speakers use the present continuous to describe an ongoing action they are doing at the moment. For example, English speakers say: “I am sitting at the table where I am drinking coffee and talking with my friend.” Instead, Italians say: “Mi siedo al tavolo dove bevo un café e parlo con mio amico”, which literally means: I sit at the table where I drink coffee and talk with my friend. If teachers do not point out that English speakers use the present continuous (to be + ing) to describe actions that are taking place, there is a risk that Italian speakers will continue to speak and write wrongly in the present simple for years to come . Of course, English speakers learning Italian also run the risk of using the present continuous too often when speaking Italian if they are not informed of the differences in usage.

For those people who are just starting to learn English or to teach English, I recommend starting with the following tenses: present simple, present continuous, present perfect, simple past, future and future continuous. Students will want to learn all the verb tenses right away, but I think these tenses will be the most practical to get started quickly. When I learned what Italian I know 34 years ago, I started with the simple present and the infinitive form. I was playful with the language, and I would still recommend starting with a playful attitude when using English verb tenses. Sometimes you have to dive in and take risks to make lasting progress. After all, language is primarily a spontaneous communicative tool that unites us for the betterment of society as a whole if we only have patience.

There are four conditionals that play an important role in the English curriculum, so if you are a new English teacher who intends to teach English in Italy, I would recommend that you be prepared to teach these four conditionals (0, 1 , 2, 3) before. start teaching formally in the classroom. More important are the distinctions between the 0 and 1 conditionals. The 0 conditional describes something common that is repeated whenever the condition occurs. For example: If it rains, I don’t water the plants. In contrast, the 1st conditional describes something that happens once such as: If it rains, we won’t work outside. Italian students tend to understand the first two conditionals quite well because they correspond directly to the Italian conditionals. The 3rd conditional tense is used to show something that is highly unlikely without fulfilling a specific condition: If I won the lottery, I would write books. The 4th conditional is impossible because a past condition has not previously been fulfilled: if he had remembered to study, he would not have failed the math test. I would recommend making your own chart with examples of the four conditionals before the first day of class and having it handy. Teachers can customize their own charts to meet the specific needs of their students based on their ages, different cultures and language levels.

Personalizing your teaching will make lessons much more enjoyable for students. You will probably need to do some research to meet the needs of your class because everyone is a unique individual with their own learning style. Teachers should not neglect that different strategies work for different students and that a wide range of visual, aural and kinesthetic experiences will be appreciated.

Hopefully this summary of the main problems faced by English learners in Italy will be useful to anyone who decides to teach English in Italy. The challenges that one language group faces vary from those of other language groups, so for example, if you are teaching in Thailand, the challenges will be different from those described in this article. Much of this knowledge is based on my study of the English and Italian languages ​​in a comparative way. I found that having a basic knowledge of the student’s first language was a useful tool that did not prevent me from using English as the primary medium of communication in my classes. Once you are teaching English in Italy, you will recognize the basic challenges described in this article and it should be easy for you to dig into the most important lessons you would like to teach.

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