The Italian Dream
Close your eyes and try to imagine how nice it would be to be able to understand and speak Italian once and for all, just as you'd always wanted! Finally loving everything about the Italian experience, living the life and style of this amazing country to the full; and feeling, little by little, the sensation of always being "outside" melt away.
Does this seem like nothing more than a nice idea? Maybe because you've been trying for a long time, but still aren't where you want to be? Have the grammar books that you've opened always looked down slightly threateningly from the shelves?
First of all, let me say this: learning should be a pleasure! By "pleasure", I mean the sensation, the satisfaction that comes from taking new things on board, a pleasure that maybe we've lost sight of over the years. But "pleasure", above all, is about involving our bodies, all our senses and our emotions too. New research on education and how the brain works is showing us that a lasting education involves mind and body, and if we make them work together - well, there's almost nothing we can't do. If you approach study with a sense of obligation, saying "I have to memorise this, I have to do these exercises", you'll end up with little to show for your pains: just the unpleasant, all-too-familiar feeling of forgetting most of what you've been studying.
So how does it work, in concrete terms? Well, we start from what you find relaxing - this is where you operate at your best - and we begin putting into practice what you already know, consolidating it. How about having breakfast with me, in a nice quiet café, while we talk Italian? Or maybe take a walk, visit a garden. The possibilities are endless.
The added benefit is that I will take you places where I, as a born-and-bred Florentine, go frequently. I'll show you hidden corners, little shops, parts of the city that only a native would know. I'll share with you some of the simple secrets of life here, those little things that bring feelings of fulfilment, wellbeing and happiness to those who know how to enjoy them. We Italians are masters of this art, as you know!
After our meetings out and about, though, we'll have to take a few more steps towards improving your Italian. There'll be time to alternate our trips out with lessons at the table or online, and there'll be a bit of homework assigned. Our outdoor meetings will have given me an idea of what grammar structures and vocabulary need a bit of work, and how I can help you get better. Also, dedicating time to study and returning, under your own steam, to what we've worked on together is very important. But we won't be following a pre-designed programme: it'll be your personal course, tailored specially for you.
I've seen the dreams of so many of my students come true. Yes, it takes effort and commitment, but I'm always there to help you keep going, to take one step at a time, to choose the right path to take your forward.
Of course there are all the free resources on the internet, all the apps imaginable, and they're all helpful in their own way; but there is still no substitute for the human interaction between teacher and student. In fact, I've taken a quote as my motto: "No meaningful education can happen without a meaningful relationship between student and teacher."
And besides, what's the number one reason why we want to learn a language? Isn't it so we can speak to locals, to understand them and make ourselves understood?