Exploring current cultural issues in the Italian oral class through theatre techniques and oral improvisation activities

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The paper will present the results of a teaching practice which I have adopted in my oral classes for my final year students of Italian at University of Bath and will investigate on how this practice can be beneficial for them to develop skills in communication and improve self-confidence. The article presents some practical examples through theatre techniques. Students each week are asked to choose a specific social, cultural or political issue selected from the topics of the language syllabus in order to explore in depth cultural materials in the target language. Students are asked to act in front of the rest of the class and give voices to prominent figures from the Italian current scenario (such as the Health Minister Lorenzin) by wearing different masks and adopting a completely new persona. They can decide to perform with their peers news programmes or present a current debate by recreating also the scenario and using props. They can act the part of more than one character. “Be someone else” allows students to be creative and imaginative. They can represent different opinions and this helps them to become more willing to take the risk of presenting in front of the class releasing their fears of approval or disapproval. The new cultural content presented to the rest of the class is a meaningful and real situation conveyed in a personal way by the students: they are in charge of researching on the topic and preparing the drama based sketch using their own words. “Se sono le vostre parole, allora può diventare più facilmente la vostra lingua” (Dufeu 2003: 39). The theatrical scenario contributes to motivate the students performing thanks to the emotional impact that acting provokes in everyone’s life and process drama increases fluency (Stinson, Freebody, 2006).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018
EventAAIS, The American Association for Italian Studies 2018 Annual Conference - Italy, Sorrento
Duration: 14 Jun 201817 Jun 2018


ConferenceAAIS, The American Association for Italian Studies 2018 Annual Conference
Internet address

Bibliographical note

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