How to teach Italian to an absolute beginner?

Hi all,

I have a job as tutor for Italian (I am German) and taught just once and have no experiences.
The student is 14 years old I think and learns Italian from scratch. She doesn´t know anything yet. She told me she just want to learn vocabularies and pronunciation and wants to learn grammar by herself as she knows Latin. So the first and until now last time it was just for half an hour and we read a text together and we learned a list of vocabularies. Honestly I was lucky that it was not longer because I didn´t really know what to do more. But I made some pics of the unit 1 of her Italian book.

So my question is:
Do you know exactly how I can teach and what exactly I can do next time with her? I think just reading and asking for vocabulary is not enough or? I said to her she should learn the vocabulary and translate the Italian text into German (reverse translation).

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May I request not to forget to work on Italian alphabet pronunciation? Since this is a private lesson, you have the possibility to work one on one and correct / teach her before she develops wrong habits. Never skip Phonics when you teach a language please. I see polyglots speak several languages so fluently, but this is a rare case isn’t it?

Creative writing! even from scratch. Self introduction and words and short sentences related to her hobbies and stuff she likes. Also allowing her to record your lessons would be very effective and FUN. It’s important to be able to listen to yourself and compare with your teacher’s pronunciation.

Since she knows Latin, maybe she is a quick learner and you can challenge her more with memorized diary with 10 - 20 sentences depending on her capacity (You need to have corrected her grammar and spellings of course) But most kids/people can memorize sentences and this is the best way to give them self confidence from the early stage. because you force them to think in that language. I had noticed a huge difference when I challenged my pupil, a sudden change, and it was beautiful to see a young child ‘SPEAKING’ by introducing himself by memory instead of reading word by word from his school English books, trying to translate word by word, stuttering, and never being able to THINK in that language…

I cannot emphasize more not to forget Phonics, to teach how to pronounce each alphabet sounds and different sounds that are made when combined with different letters. Position of the tongue, lips, how widely open or not, which muscles are too tense, etc., it’s a good training for us teachers to see how quick we can recognize the cause of wrong pronunciation or pitches. Italian Phonetics Part 1: Vowel Sounds - YouTube (at school and bad language schools they make their pupils learn passively… but in the beginning it is just impossible to speak your mind, that is why learning sentences by memory helps tremendously to gain fluency= confindence=language brain from the beginning)

Okay, now I shut up haha😁

All the best maestro! :smiley:


I started learning Italian from scratch in 2016…

I started by reading posts on Facebook from my Italian friends, and looking up words as needed. After a while, I could understand individual words, then phrases, then entire sentences, then paragraphs. I made no effort to “study” or learn vocabulary, I just looked up what I needed as I went along. Facebook has been a great language learning resource for me. I have learned many different ways of saying things, and what is appropriate to say in different contexts.

In December 2018, I started listening to audios with transcripts 30-60 minutes per day. I started with LingQ’s “Getting Started” because it was very slow (maybe 60-70 words per minute).

In the last few months, I have been using the LingQ Mini Stories, and I speak aloud to answer the questions at the end. The speaking has been really helpful, and has taken my listening skills to a new level.

I now listen to audios at normal speed (150 words per minute), and I can watch interviews without getting lost.

If I had it to do over again, I would have started listening much earlier, and I would have started speaking (with the LingQ Mini Stories) much earier too.

In addition to LingQ, I also use resources from Assimil, Italiano Automatico, and Italiano Semplicemente, which all have audios with transcripts.

I am probably at an Intermediate level in Italian. Since I have done most of my reading and listening outside of LingQ, my LingQ statistics do not reflect where I am at.

If I were you, I’d choose themes say for example you teach her first food vocabulary, then family, then clothes then casual first meeting conversations. Then you teach her the personal pronouns. Make sure to show her how the sentence is constructed in Italian which is of course a bit different from English. I hope this helps. I used duolingo. it is very helpful!