With these smart-lessons, you will learn recurrent and important words and structures and find easy-to-understand explanations and many examples. Learning content is placed in meaningful dialogues, where words and language structures are used in context, to help you remember them much more easily and be able to USE what you learn.
The duration of this course is approximately 30 days, when studying for a minimum of 5-8 minutes a day, which is the duration of each audio lesson. You are encouraged to study up to 30 minutes a day (or as long as you can), because the course also contains a script for each audio lesson and a practice section (written exercises and speaking practice). Working on the audio and the script is the best option, but if you don’t have enough time, make sure you complete at least one of the two every day. If you aren’t able to do both, you will still be able to follow the subsequent lessons because many words and language structures are repeated. If you don’t have much time, you could simply listen to the audios every day and then, upon completing the course, go back and work on the scripts.
If for some reason you find yourself having to skip a day, make sure you take a quick look at the script from your last lesson (even just for one minute) or listen to an audio lesson (or even just a part of it). Remember: it’s much better to work on the audio OR the script every day than to wait for the perfect moment in which to work on both the audio and the script. If you have to choose between one of the two, I suggest you work on the audio because it’s only about 5 minutes long, and everyone has 5 minutes!
As a language coach, my advice is that you choose a time during the day (in advance) when you know that you will always have five minutes to listen to the audio. This will be your core learning so try to stick to it! If you have more time, you can go through the script and speaking practice as well. Otherwise just focus on the audio lessons and you will make progress, no matter what!
N.B. I am not a native English speaker. I have a C2 level and a CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults) from Cambridge University. I have tried to be as clear as possible when recording scripts. Nevertheless, if you’re unsure about my pronunciation, please refer to the script and feel free to ask me if you have any doubts.
My aim is to help you speak Italian from the very first lesson, without investing an impossible amount of time. This course is designed specifically for busy people, so that you concentrate on what is really important in order to start using this beautiful language from the very beginning.
How to work with the smart-lessons:
- Listen to the audio lesson (5-10 minutes).
The audio can be used on its own, should you want to listen to it while walking or during your school/work commute.
You can decide whether to just stick to the lesson, listen to it first and then read the script, or listen to the audio while reading the script.
The advantage of only listening is that you can concentrate on the way words and sentences are pronounced, without being influenced by the way they are written. This usually leads to a better pronunciation.
However, reading the script is also important because:
- you see how words are written/you learn their spelling (if you want to be able to read and write in Italian, as well as speak it), and
- you get a memory boost (especially if you are a visual learner): things are remembered best if learnt through different channels (auditory, visual, etc.).
Everyone is different, but in my experience and for the best results, my advice is to listen to the audio first, and immediately after (or later on the same day) read the script while listening to the audio again.
Whatever you choose, the most effective way to work with the audio is to say all the Italian words, verbs and sentences that I pronounce for you aloud. I say the most important words more than once and at different speeds, so don’t be afraid to repeat after me!
In this way, you can train your pronunciation, melody and intonation and, at the same time, help your brain retain words, verbs and structures. When we say words aloud, various parts of the body are involved in the process and this helps us remember them for much longer.
What are the advantages of each option?
The audio file is essentially me teaching you the most important bits of the language in a compact and effective way. The audio is almost identical to the script (so that you can easily follow it) but it is slightly adapted to suit “oral” teaching (e.g. the words and sentences are only written once in a row within the script so that, when you read the script for revision without listening to the audio, it is still easy to read and to work with).
- Read the takeaways from the lesson: this is what you should remember, use and revise (10 minutes)
The second part of each lesson is called “Takeaways” and it’s very helpful because it helps you remember the main points of the lesson, being structured in a compact way. The “Takeaways” section is made of the most important grammar points, words and sentences to remember. These are “template sentences” that help you remember language structures, such as words that allow you to say useful and meaningful things, simply by replacing one word. If you want to focus on one thing in particular in the “Takeaways” section, focus on the sentences (there is a section called “sentences”).
Use the “Takeaways” section for one or more of the following activities:
- to revise what you have just learnt,
- to quickly revise the main points of the previous lesson before you go on to the next one,
- to use it as a reference if you don’t want to read the lesson again,
- to remember the most important “model sentences” of the lessons.
- Practice time! (5-10 minutes)
In the lesson PDF, you will also find a section called “Practice time”.
As I don’t expect you to remember new things straight away, you are of course welcome to take a look at the explanations in order to complete this part. Ideally, from the next lesson onwards, you will try to remember the vocabulary, verbs and structures from previous lessons, before looking them up.
This section is made up of 4 mini parts: the first three help fix the concepts of the lesson or of the previous ones. Only useful words and structures are used so you won’t be asked to work with any useless words. The last part is a speaking exercise: there is an extra audio file in which I will be asking you questions. Ideally this should be treated as a speaking exercise, so if you want to write your answers out, please do so afterwards. The aim of the speaking practice is to train fluency, not accuracy. When you train fluency, you focus on answering and reacting straight away rather than waiting to have the perfect sentence before responding. This is even more important in real life: when people talk to you, try to react straight away. Your answer doesn’t have to be perfect, just do your best with what you know. There are no wrong answers as long as you react to what I am asking you. For this part, grammar is less important than you reacting to my questions. The aim of speaking, especially in social situations, is communication – even if it’s just expressing the fact that you haven’t understood something (you will learn how to express this in the lessons). Just do your best to get the message across. Your best is always enough!
Let’s get started!