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7 days with the Italian: study at the teacher’s house

We are glad to publish a brief account that our teacher Elena has written after a week of home tuition programme with Xavier, a Spanish student from Barcelona. During this week Elena has boarded Xavier and at the same time she has taught him Italian on a one-to-one tuition basis. This full immersion seems to have been really fruitful for the student’s language needs…

xavierHi, my name is Elena and I am currently teaching Italian at Accademia del Giglio. My lessons normally take place at school, but last January I was asked to teach a student in my house and I was quite happy about this change. My husband and I had the pleasure to host a manager from a well-known European company. His name is Xavier and he is from Barcelona. When he arrived he was a beginner from scratch, and for business reason he had to reach at least a sound knowledge of Italian. Our program was very committing: 7 hours of tuition every day for 5 days. So we started up the day after Xavier had arrived: 4 hours of intensive study in the morning with dialogues, grammar, vocabulary, exercises, plus, after lunch, 3 hours of conversation, mostly outside, in shops or other public places where Xavier could put into practice what he had learnt in the morning. In a couple of days Xavier got so confident in his language skills that without my help he managed to find a specialist doctor for himself. He quickly got used to the Italian lifestyle. He also took advantage of the sales in Florence and did some shopping for his family (a pair of cute shoes for his baby and a leather handbag for his wife). Needless to say that throughout the home tuition programme lessons actually started when we got up and ended when we said “buona notte” (good night). In addition to that, since Xavier had a tv in his bedroom he went on learning by watching a movie or quiz show and the morning after he had his questions ready regarding some words or idiomatic expressions he had heard the night before. I must say that Xavier was a really motivated student!
On a Friday afternoon I taught Xavier to make a pizza in the Italian style. I think he really enjoyed our dinner and he accurately noted down the instructions to make the dough and on how to stretch it. He said he was looking forward to making pizza by himself when back home.
On this same evening I invited for dinner a friend of mine, who had spent quite a long time in Barcelona while studying Spanish for her degree. Xavier looked delighted to discuss (in Italian) with her about Spain and Catalonia.
cameraxavier Throughout this programme I was so pleased by the fact that everything went smooth, although I also had to look after my one-year daughter, when my husband was not at home. Teresa – that is my daughter’s name – immediately got along well with Xavier, maybe because he is a father too and he knows how to deal with children. About this matter Xavier and I talked a lot.
In conclusion I was very gratified by this experience. Next week I am going to host a new student, and I hope I will be able to convey as much as Italian as I did with Xavier. Ciao!

Elena Martelli
Teacher of Accademia del Giglio

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