This professional learning program, consisting of four two-hour sessions, is designed for current and prospective teachers of Italian interested in refreshing their approach to teaching and learning.

Led by Matthew Absalom and a team of experienced teachers and academics, this professional learning program for all teachers of Italian will provide opportunities for networking with colleagues, reconsidering approaches to teaching and learning, integrating new resources into your practice and updating your knowledge of Italian language and culture. The program is diversified to cater for all year levels and includes an introductory session to bring together all participants.

The program is diversified to cater for all year levels and includes an introductory session, which will feature Professor Joe Lo Bianco and Laura Napolitano (new Director, Italian Institute of Culture, Melbourne) to bring together all participants.

In each strand, participants will have the opportunity to complete a short action teaching project which they define prior to the first session, put in place after the first session and report on in the final session.

The program will be fully supported via an online learning community which participants will access before the program begins and continue to have access to throughout 2018.

Professional Certificates of participation will be offered upon completion of the course and VIT applicable.


Introductory session for all levels: Thursday 15 February 5.30 - 7.30pm
Primary strand: Saturday 24 February, 3 and 17 March 10.30am - 12.30pm
Secondary strand (years 7-10): Saturday 24 February, 3 and 17 March 2 - 4pm
VCE strand: Thursday 22 February, 8 and 22 March 5.30 - 7.30pm


  • Individual session: $60 (1 session, 2 hours)
  • Single strand pass: $200 (4 sessions, 8 hours)
  • Double strand pass: $350 (eg Secondary and VCE strands, 7 sessions, 14 hours)
  • Triple strand pass: $500 (Primary, Secondary and VCE strands, 10 sessions, 20 hours)

(Includes light refreshments)


Arts West (Building 148), the University of Melbourne, Parkville

Program Flyer

Session overview

Introductory session
The introductory session for all teachers will explore current issues in the teaching and learning of Italian, from across different teaching contexts to interact, network and discuss common issues relating to the teaching and learning of Italian in their schools.
Following a panel discussion with key staff from a range of successful Victorian Italian programs, we will review current trends in education which have bearing on Italian programs. The final part of the session will be dedicated to establishing the focus of individual action teaching projects as well as the content of subsequent sessions.

Primary Strand
The primary strand will focus on the Victorian Curriculum and present approaches and materials relevant to the primary years. We will look at up-to-date research on languages teaching and learning and consider ways to strengthen Italian in these crucial years of education.

Session 1: Communicating
We will review the Communicating strand of the Victorian Curriculum with a particular focus on the creating, translating and reflecting sub strands. Participants will come away with a series of approaches and resources to adapt and adopt in class.

Session 2: Understanding
We will explore the Understanding strand of the Victorian Curriculum as it applies in the primary years. Our focus will take in all three sub strands and participants will have the opportunity to review and develop materials to support student learning.

Session 3: An approach to text
We will look at how we can work towards supporting learners to approach more sustained texts, with an emphasis on the receptive competencies of reading and listening. Participants will explore a range of different text types and strategies for introducing these to students.

Secondary Strand
The secondary strand will use the recently released Ecco! second edition as a starting point for a review of content in years 7-10. We will illustrate a range of different activities and approaches as well as offering suggestions for more sustained projects.

Session 1: Aspects of language
The Ecco! second edition introduces explicit work in a number of linguistic and paralinguistic realms: phonetics and phonology and gesture. We will look at how these are integrated into the text and explore ways of bringing these to life in the classroom.

Session 2: Aspects of culture
Both Ecco! Uno and Ecco! Due integrate a range of text types (blog, expository texts, articles, stories, etc.) which explore different facets of Italian culture from an intercultural perspective. Ecco! Due also provides a succinct overview of Italian history from Ancient Rome to present day. We will review these texts with a view to applying them in teaching and learning contexts.

Session 3: Aspects of grammar
In this session, we will look at some of the key issues in Italian grammar for learners from a range of different perspectives. The aim will be to build an arsenal of materials and approaches which can lead to successful learning.
In each session, we will also consider approaches to assessment in relation to the Achievement Standards.

VCE Strand
The VCE strand will explore aspects of Units 1-4 with a particular focus on topics for the detailed study and approaches to teaching aspects of contemporary Italian language.

Session 1: Looking forward, looking back
We will consider how to calibrate the final years of Italian in relation to what knowledge and competencies students bring from prior years’ learning but also with a view to where they might go after VCE. As well as sharing experiences, participants will have the opportunity to consider different perspectives on their students’ learning needs which will inform their current practice.

Session 2: The detailed study
Participants will be presented with examples of successful detailed study topics as well as a series of new proposals which can be modified to suit their needs. Experienced and successful teachers will describe both their rationales for topic choice and the range of allied activities and assessment tasks which they use to support the detailed study. Participants will take away some fully developed models for implementation.

Session 3: Approaches to grammar and text
In this final session, we will look at some of the thornier aspects of Italian grammar and how to present these at VCE level. We will also revisit the idea of the sustained text and develop approaches to support students’ interaction with and comprehension of more complex texts.


Matthew Absalom

Matthew Absalom is a university teacher and researcher, linguist, Italian language coach, translator and published author. His current appointment is in the Italian Studies program at the University of Melbourne. He holds qualifications in music, education, languages and linguistics, and his research interests cover Italian linguistics, computer assisted language learning, and languages education. A regular visitor to Italy over the last 25 years, he has carried out research, led study tours including the Federal Government's Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowship to Italy, and negotiated in-country study opportunities for his students. His university career in Australia spans three universities: the Australian National University, University of South Australia and the University of Melbourne. Matthew was the leading author of Cengage’s Esplora! Senior and has recently been involved as a writer for the new edition of Pearson’s Ecco! 1 and 2. A regular presenter at teacher professional learning programs around Australia, he was a member of the executive of the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations from 2008-2017.