Teaching philosophy

The driving principle behind my teaching philosophy is to keep classes student focused. In order for any learning to come to fruition during a class, it is imperative students feel as comfortable as possible to risk expressing themselves in a formal, academic environment. To relieve any pressure or expectation which students may feel when entering the classroom, I aim to create an informal, friendly environment.

 

The less students are preoccupied with the formalities of how classes should be run, the easier it allows them to advance responses in tutorials, or engage with material during lectures. I want to create an openness between my students and myself which provokes them to feel active and part of a process. For this reason, I encourage student discussion between themselves.

 

The attitude to education I want to promote is one in which university study is seen as part of a process of broader learning and engagement with reality. The question of methodology is paramount here. To arrive at knowledge, students are stimulated to be curious and to react by way of intellectual discussion. I want the approaches that students take to be inquisitive, probing areas of investigation which may or may not lead them to arrive at conclusions and solutions.

 

Students must feel intellectually engaged, but also free to create hypotheses and explore avenues of investigation which they can verify against reality. The more intense this attitude is, the more satisfying and the more enriching the learning will be. The study of language, and the culture surrounding that language, is one environment in which precisely this attitude can run untamed. I feel obsessive about opening up the cultural riches of Italy, Italian, and Italians, especially to people here in Australia. The higher this degree of understanding, the more likely than not students feel aware and engaged in multicultural Australia.

 

Being part of Italy’s cultural riches and sharing its tradition with others drives my unquenchable thirst to compare and contrast both countries’ pasts, presents and futures. In short, I aim to create an atmosphere in which students can feel enough at ease to ask questions and discuss ideas.

 

Widening discussion about Italian and Italy and how it applies to the Australian context provokes a reaction from students which leaves them engaged and with a sense of satisfaction that there is value in diversity. The curious way in which intellectual work in the classroom is approached is not simply driven from an academic requirement, but is a method of openness and investigation which can and should be applied to all reality.

I am a "Fellow" of the UK Higher Education Academy, and I have been an assessor for colleagues seeking admission: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/

Courses

I have coordinated many courses and taught widely, at all levels of the curriculum across Italian Studies, linguistics, and translation studies. I have taught Italian language acquisition courses, from ab initio to Masters-level courses, as well as courses on:

 

  • Digital Dante

  • Italian Culture in Word and Image: Middle Ages to 1861

  • Populism in contemporary Italy

  • Mafia in Italy: Sciascia, Romanzo Criminale

  • Romance linguistics

  • Migration, language and citizenship

  • Italian film

  • Women in nineteenth-century Italy

  • History of Italy

  • Italian opera

  • Italian Romanticism: Leopardi, Verga, Manzoni

  • Linguistic history of Italy

 

All these courses also involved curriculum development.

 

I also coordinated a year-long exchange programme for students of Italian at UWA to go to the University of Bergamo, as well as a new course on "Global Rome" for ANU students that focusses on culture and identity in the Italian capital.

I have supervised several Honours (4th-year) dissertations and am panel member for PhD and MPhil students.

 

Current and previous dissertation topics include:

  • The diachrony of definiteness in Syriac (PhD)

  • Exploring teacher perceptions of assessment in languages: The French Language Progression Framework K-10 (MPhil)

  • Transfer of loanwords and code-intermediate phenomena from English to Italian in merchant letters sent from London to Genoa in the Datini network, 1392-1401 (Honours)

  • Persistence and Innovation of the -isc- Inchoative Infix in Three Dictionaries Concerning Infinitive Forms in Southern Calabrian Dialects (Honours)

  • Exploring the migrant in Italian cinema: the case of Marco Tullio Giordana’s Quando sei nato non puoi più nasconderti and Cristina Comencini’s Bianco e nero (Honours)