The Italian intensive summer course for college credit offered to high school students in 2017 and 2018 (and currently underway for 2019) has proven to be an innovative project of great benefit for the study of Italian in both the high school and the higher ed systems by strengthening long-term students of Italian and, ultimately, the entire discipline.
As a result of the first two editions:
1. A school was able to offer a brand-new AP course that was previously unimaginable for insufficient number of students at the expected level of competence (read article), while other schools were able to add more students to their pre-existing AP classes.
2. More students were able to take the AP exam, and all with passing grades, including 4s and 5s.
3. Italian programs at different universities have potentially grown their number of majors and minors (data available about Montclair State indicates that the campus has three additional students after the first edition, i.e. roughly 15% of the students from Summer 2017 have enrolled at the University with varying ties to the Italian Program, from double major to minor).
4. A high school teacher and two university professors are working together as part of a structured synergy on both academic content, cultural enrichment, fundraising and logistics.
DESCRIPTION OF BENEFITS
For High School teachers the summer course:
- Is not in competition with your pre-existing courses (AP, etc.) but is instead aimed at expanding them as well as creating the conditions to open new ones.
- Specifically prepares your students for senior-year advanced courses (AP, Italian 4) as it strengthens their skills, in particular those of listening comprehension and speaking, while making them more familiar with AP-style assessments through targeted exercises and activities designed to expose them to a wide range of cultural experiences (read article)
- Can attract new students to your programs, not just to your current classes, as students who take the summer course can share the experience with their peers, explaining to them the value of early college credit, and illustrating the opportunities open to those who choose to study Italian across the HS and university systems as a tangible asset in their education with international breadth
- Involves you as teachers in an innovative and professionally rewarding experience: your recommendations, your post-course feedback, and even your potential role as guest speaker during the summer course (inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org), are essential elements for the course’s success, and by extension for the discipline of Italian language and culture.
For University/College Instructors the summer course:
- Allows high school students to achieve concrete results in intermediate, advanced and AP courses which in turn means they are more likely to continue studying Italian in college as they can be placed in upper-division Italian classes, and more easily earn a (double) major or minor – read the story of the striking impact of the summer course on a high school student now double majoring in Italian and business and minoring in fashion (scroll down to section on Cristina Latino)
- Introduces high school students to college life and college-level academic expectations making them more prepared and ready to be successful in your courses
Shared benefits for both high school and college Italian teachers:
- As ties are strengthened between high school and college programs, a dialog is created that allows teachers at both levels to collaborate and learn from each other so that the discipline of Italian can further grow at all levels
- Through constructive collaboration teachers learn what their colleagues at other levels are doing in the classroom, what their expectations for their students are, and how to design a shared curriculum that allows students to move seamlessly from high school to college studies