Years 7 and 8 Band Description
The nature of the learners
Students are beginning their study of Italian and typically have had little prior exposure to the language and associated cultures. Many will have learnt an additional language in primary school, some have proficiency in different home languages and bring existing language learning strategies and intercultural awareness to the new experience of learning Italian. Students’ textual knowledge developed through English literacy learning supports the development of literacy in Italian. Skills in analysing, comparing and reflecting on language and culture in both languages are mutually supportive. Students may need encouragement to take risks in learning a new language at this stage of social development and to consider issues of how the experience impacts on their sense of ‘norms’ associated with their first language and culture.
Italian language learning and use
Students work with different modes of communication and with different text genres, with reference to their own social, cultural and communicative interests. They learn to use modelled and rehearsed language in familiar contexts and begin to use the language to create and communicate their own meanings. They work with others collaboratively to plan, problem-solve, monitor and reflect on aspects of their learning. They learn how to make observations about the relationship between language and culture, particularly through comparing what they learn in Italian to their own language(s) and culture(s). They identify cultural references in texts and consider how language reflects practices, perspectives and values. They reflect on the process of moving between languages and cultures and developing their capability as learners of Italian.
Contexts of interaction
Opportunities for interaction in Italian are provided through working with the teacher and peers in class, and using resources and materials, including online resources as appropriate; there is also some interaction beyond the classroom with members of Italian communities. Italian is used by the teacher in classroom routines, structured interaction and learning tasks.
Texts and resources
Students listen to, read, view and interact with a range of texts for a variety of purposes, such as personal, social, informational, transactional, imaginative and expressive. They develop skills in planning, drafting and presenting descriptive and informative texts and participate in collaborative tasks, games and discussions. They compose and present simple texts such as stories, poems, songs/raps, blogs, advertisements, reports and journal entries. They develop metalanguage for referring to Italian language and learning, and use processing strategies, such as comparing and categorising, that draw on their developing understanding of text conventions and patterns. They learn to identify how cultural values and perspectives are embedded in texts and become aware that language choices determine how people and circumstances are represented.
Features of Italian language use
Students become familiar with the pronunciation and sound system of Italian, noting similarities and differences with English. They build a vocabulary relating to people and objects in their immediate worlds. They learn how to use definite and indefinite articles. They learn how to form singular and plural nouns, to recognise patterns of noun categories and to understand the general rule of gender and agreement. Students learn simple sentence construction (subject–verb–object), which is enriched by the use of adjectives. They create their own texts mainly using the present tense of regular and common irregular verbs. They gradually build more extended texts, using cohesive devices. Students develop language for interacting with the teacher and each other. They learn to distinguish between formal and informal register. They develop a metalanguage to describe and discuss features of Italian.
Level of support
Students require support to build on existing language-learning strategies and knowledge, such as using mnemonic devices and developing a metalanguage to talk about language and culture and about language learning. Scaffolding is continuously provided by the teacher and by support materials such as word banks, focused language activities, and interactive models of language use and analysis.
The role of English
English serves two main functions in the Italian class: it represents a point of reference for Italian learning by enabling students to compare structures, features, and cultural meanings in both languages; and it is used when appropriate for explanation, reflection and discussion.