At our school in Montepulciano, courses are divided into 6 levels, based on the "Common European Framework of Reference for Languages" of the Council of Europe. There is also a special conversation course for high-level students who wish to concentrate on improving their oral competence.
For absolute beginners, our aim is to provide students with the necessary linguistic competence so as to be able to understand and communicate in basic daily situations: saying hello and introducing themselves, giving simple personal information (family, home, work), use numbers and tell the time, and have simple dialogues in typical everyday situations (in restaurants, bars, at the station).
The object of elementary courses is to gain a basic knowledge of the Italian language necessary for talking about yourself, your job, your family, personal experiences, making invitations, accepting and refusing, expressing doubts, tastes and preferences, speaking about simple personal past experiences. During the lessons, the chief emphasis is on oral communication and the function of the written exercises is to strengthen awareness of the language structures.
Intermediate I and II
Intermediate courses reinforce students' knowledge of basic grammatical structures and introduce more complex structures so that they can speak about personal past experiences, link actions and events from the past, make plans for the future, make previsions, promises and speak about concrete facts regarding their life (personal experiences, work, holidays and travel) and other more general subjects (social life, the environment, etc.). During intermediate courses, students learn how to develop descriptions, narratives and sustain simple discussions in a pertinent if not always grammatically correct way.
Advanced I and II
Advanced courses are aimed at students who already have a good knowledge of the language. Their purpose is to help students to acquire and reinforce the more complex syntactical structures through written and oral work. They practise expressing their own ideas on specific themes including those of an abstract nature (social life, topical news stories, moral and political questions) and are introduced to reading newspapers, short literary texts and watching films. Students acquire a good knowledge of idiomatic and colloquial expressions and are able to understand sociolinguistic and sociocultural implications (including allusions and humoristic references) so as to be able to react and behave in an appropriate manner.
Proficiency conversation courses develop a specific sensitivity to styles and registers used in different linguistic sectors. Almost exclusively original texts, from literature and from the press, are used and analysed from a linguistic point of view and discussed with regard to the content. Students who participate in conversation courses also concentrate on comprehension and the reformulation of complex concepts using different linguistic forms depending on the situation and their interlocutor. They also learn to understand Italy's social realities and culture better and may choose which aspects to study more in depth.