Italian for Driving Schools

Italian for Driving Schools

From Experimentation to an educational Format for Inclusion of Italian L2 Learners

Location:

Turin, Italy

Period of implementation:

From 2019

Field of activity – formal/informal/non-formal:

Language skills development for asylum seekers: Non- formal and Formal education

Funding sources:

Public, City of Turin

Overall cost/budget:

N/A

Target group:

  • 35 mostly non-native participants, with a level of Italian equal to level B13, able to move around independently within the second language context, in relation to communicative competence, with regard to familiar aspects.
  • 20 Teachers and instructors

Implementing organization/lead organization:

The Intercultural Centre of the city of Turin

Contact info:

  • Lorenzina Morena:
    • tel: 01101129702
    • email: lo**************@co****.it
  • Maria Lariccia:
    • tel: 01101129726
    • email: ma************@co****.it
  • Paolo Nitti
    • email: pa*********@un********.it

Challenge or social need:

The teaching dealt with aspects of Italian that are particularly problematic when taking driving lessons, especially with regard to specialist language:In the case of L2 learners, the students must understand a text that presents difficulties beyond their linguistic level.

It is not a question of understanding, or of speaking, nor of reading or writing taken individually and successively one after another, but of all these skills considered simultaneously and intertwining with one another, one in the other in an ‘amalgam’ of meaning and signifying form, of a profound disciplinary content and a specialized terminological lexicon on the surface, which can be placed on a continuous scale ranging from the most complete and indecipherable opacity to the fullest and clearest transparency.

As regards the learners’ profile, specific challenges relating to the teaching of adults were given consideration, for example, that adults require different teaching methods, given that they feel socially and intellectually on a par with the teacher and are therefore not willing to indulge in ‘acts of faith’.

Description:

In 2019, an Italian for Driving Schools course was launched, lasting 20 hours. The teaching involved the participation of Italian L2 teachers, tutors from the Intercultural Centre, and driving school instructors working at local schools. The teaching dealt with aspects of Italian that are particularly problematic when taking driving lessons, especially with regard to specialist language. In addition to the lexical dimension, the course also dealt with the syntactic and textual phenomena characteristic of the micro-language, in order to eliminate a good part of the problems associated with participation in courses to obtain a driving licence. In many cases, one of the most critical points is understanding of the micro-languages. In the sciences of language, a micro-language represents that variety of language which specialists in a given scientific or professional sector use with a twofold purpose: to obtain maximum clarity, to allow those who use it appropriately to be identified as a member of the scientificprofessional group who share it.


The course was offered to 35 non-native participants, with a level of Italian equal to level B13, able to move around independently within the second language context, in relation to communicative competence, with regard to familiar aspects.

The objectives of the course, therefore, concerned the specialized and sectoral elements of Italian with respect to the specialized area of the driving school, engines, and partially also some economic, legal and bureaucratic language, since each lesson examined a selection of elements of Italian grammar and lexicon in relation to driving school topics.

These topics were discussed preliminarily and shared by the teachers in charge of the course with the driving school instructors, based on the uncertainties and problems that arise most frequently within driving courses and taking the students’ level of Italian into account.

Adherence to the context of the learner’s extra-curricular life was the cornerstone of the educational action and some tools were offered to overcome the language barriers imposed by the adoption of a micro-language. It should be noted that the Italian for Driving Schools course is not aimed solely at non-native individuals, since the micro-languages, as we have seen, can also prove a hindrance to native speakers.

Benefits/success factors/ measurement of success:

In the case of the Italian for Driving Schools course, the field of specialization of Italian L2 teachers concerned both the linguistics of Italian and language teaching, i.e., the set of strategies, approaches, methods and techniques for teaching linguistic contents . The synergy between the two forms of educational experience – Italian and the driving school – made it possible to organize an inclusive course, since, thanks to the attendance, certain problematic aspects of Italian were clarified which could have precluded students from accessing driving school courses not designed specifically for non-native students nor to solve language problems.

So, starting from the educational experiment, certain characteristics of the course were identified as worth exploiting in an educational format to evaluate the impact of other future training interventions: portability with respect to daily life, the participation of experts, co-teaching, the possibility of inclusion of natives and the satisfaction rate at the end of the course. Therefore, the experience was modelled by structuring an example of a good inclusion practice.

At the end of the course, students were given a feedback questionnaire, in which to express any doubts and the degree of satisfaction with the course, using indicators of the common european framework of reference for languages learning-teaching assessment. Given that all the indicators reported high levels of satisfaction (on average 25%) and very high (on average 60%), one of the aspects which users highlighted, in terms of quality, concerned the advantage of co-teaching and the presence of different profiles. In the first case, it was reported that co-teaching allowed the students to benefit from different voices (14%), different teaching approaches and techniques (18%), with greater significance in terms of learning.

From a survey conducted three weeks after the end of the course, it emerged that 87% of the students went on to enrol at a driving school, a sign which can be interpreted, in addition to the learners’ motivation and the attractiveness of the chance to obtain a driving licence for an individual, as a clear manifestation of the inclusion of migrants in advanced educational activities.
Starting from the educational experiment, certain characteristics of the course were identified as worth exploiting in an educational format to evaluate the impact of other future training interventions: portability with respect to daily life, the participation of experts, co-teaching, the possibility of inclusion of natives and the satisfaction rate at the end of the course. Therefore, the experience was modelled by structuring an example of a good inclusion practice.

Critical points/weaknesses:

The micro-languages can prove a hindrance to native speakers too: in addition to the specific textual and syntactic structures, specialist languages adopt “Terms taken from words of the common language to which a unique and specialized value is attributed through stipulative definitions”. A word such as “claim”, for instance, can have profoundly different meanings in the insurance sector or in common parlance.

Understanding, or speaking, reading or writing simultaneously and intertwining with one another, one in the other in an ‘amalgam’ of meaning and signifying form, of a profound disciplinary content and a specialized terminological lexicon on the surface, which can be placed on a continuous scale ranging from the most complete and indecipherable opacity to the fullest and clearest transparency.

Sustainability characteristics:

The synergy between the two forms of educational experience – Italian and the driving school – made it possible to organize an inclusive course, since, thanks to the attendance, certain problematic aspects of Italian were clarified which could have precluded students from accessing driving school courses not designed specifically for non-native students nor to solve language problems. Synergy among intercultural centres and driving schools, contribute to sustainability of the project.

Transferability characteristics:

This action do not require extra budget financial resources. Starting from the educational experiment, certain characteristics of the course were identified as worth exploiting in an educational format to evaluate the impact of other future training interventions.

Inclusive characteristics/Innovative elements:

This training course promoted by the Intercultural centre is based on “choral negotiation”, that is, a working method aimed at formulating a criterion shared by teachers and operators, based on short- and long-range language teaching goals, on the specific objectives which give substance to these goals, and on the procedures to ensure that the students learn to reflect on the condition of their own interlanguage, in order to become genuine protagonists of continuous learning. In view of the receptive welcome and an educational intervention open to all, the only requirement for admission to courses, in addition to the language level, is personal enthusiasm for the topic. In this case the course combines Italian L2 to Driving license training.

Adherence to the context of the learner’s extra-curricular life was the cornerstone of the educational action and some tools were offered to overcome the language barriers imposed by the adoption of a micro-language. It should be noted that the Italian for Driving Schools course is not aimed solely at non-native individuals, since the micro-languages, as we have seen, can also prove a hindrance to native speakers.