Italian

From its inception in 1967, Italian has adopted informed classroom methods and research as the two pillars of its teaching practice. It has encouraged personal initiatives but has equally supported collaboration with other intellectual institutions and community organizations, in accordance with the University’s academic criteria. The story of Italian at U of T Mississauga illustrates these principles. It is a story of substantial growth in terms of numbers as well as breadth and depth. The present enrolment has risen, proportionally with the U of T Mississauga general enrolment, to almost 500 students.

Italian currently offers courses that cover all periods of literature, the major aspects of the Italian language, recent research in teaching and learning Italian as a second language, and significant expressions of Italian culture such as its theatre, cinema and lively contemporary civilization. Noteworthy too is the fact that the discipline of Italian is attracting an increasing number of students of non-Italian background who are continuing in Italian programs at all levels. This is undoubtedly in response to both the growing international visibility of Italian language and culture, as well as the reputable position our discipline has established in North America.

ITA offers access to a fully equipped computer/language laboratory and to its own in-house Italian software and video library, and is also a partner in the established U of T Mississauga Concurrent Teacher Education Program (CTEP). Over the years, Italian has been involved in many endeavors designed to foster a better understanding and appreciation of Italian. It has recently introduced an internship course and writing courses that promote experiential learning, practical language use, and stimulate transferable skills and creative writing.

ITA has organized Italian weeks in collaboration with a very active student club, hosted the Ontario Italian High School Contest on numerous occasions, and held regular film nights, concerts and lecture series. The varying methods employed, modes of involvement, and interest in Italian are strongly noted and amalgamated within the Italian Theatre, Text and Performance course, which celebrated its 25 anniversary (2011) with yet another successful five-run production of an Italian play. The practice of performing, at first extra-curricular, has become a veritable tradition and four credit courses have been created as a result. The Italian Theatre, Text and Performance course has been named one of the 25 Best World Language courses by the AP World Languages Best Practices Study.

Encouraged by the success of the Summer Abroad program (run by Woodsworth College) and of the Explore program, both of which have enjoyed strong appeal for UTM LS students in the last few years, the Department of Language Studies initiated a program in Florence for ITA students in 2011.