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We met Giuseppe Di Natale in our office and had a lovely chat about the DITALS training course he attended at Happy Languages in October 2016 and the DITALS I exam he did just after the course.

Let’s read more about his experience!

Tell us about your education and previous work experience.

I gained a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and International Communication: I studied Spanish, English and Italian for foreigners., which included Italian literature and linguistics. After the graduation I came to London, where I live and work as a shop assistant. I don’t have any experience in teaching, my first exposure to that was the internship completed during the DITALS I preparation course.

Why did you choose to attend the DITALS preparation course?

To be totally honest, I wanted to awake my mind and restart focusing on what I really want do to: teaching Italian as a foreign language. I found some posts on Facebook about the course and I decided to take it. Now I can say that it was really useful and it even made me think about continuing my studies at university doing a Masters Degree.

What expectations did you have before the start of the course?

I was really scared because during the DITALS Workshop organised by Happy Languages I met a lot of people who were about to do the course and most of them had previous experience in teaching. For me everything was completely new. My main expectation was understanding how teaching a foreign language works in a foreign country and in a context different from a state school.

How was the course organised?

The course was very practical. Basically we worked on building a lesson starting from the beginning and adding more phases and activities step by step. At the end of the course we simulated the whole exam. Also, we studied all the different teaching approaches and methods.

In your opinion, which part of the exam is more complex?

Part B, definitely. I think that if you don’t have good grammar skills, when you read the text provided as the input you don’t really know what to start with and how to structure the lesson. I did the DITALS I exam and this was my main problem: even though I am quite a creative person, I didn’t know how to use the main grammar topic to make an appropriate activity so I got lost. I structured a very simple activity, but actually it was marked as sufficient to pass the exam (I got 21 in part B).

Do you think the course has been useful to pass the exam?

Very useful. I would have never passed the exam without it.

After how long did you do the exam?

A couple of weeks after the end of the course. A perfect timing, because everything we did and studied during the course was still very vivid in my mind. Probably I should have finished the internship some time before as well.

Do you want to take the DITALS II certification as well?

Yes, definitely.

What did the internship consist of and what was more useful for your training?

I observed Italian lessons very attentively, thought about them and studied teachers. That was very useful, I took something from all of them. Obviously everyone has its style and its personal charisma, which is as important as the theoretical preparation. Besides, I created some teaching material at home, working with my colleagues.

What advice would you give to someone who is about to start this professional path?

If you want to do this job, my advice is to study, observe, train and take all the possible chances.