What is the most important ‘lesson’ you want to teach your students?
I don't know that I have one lesson I want to teach my students. Somehow, I feel like my goals/lessons can all be intertwined. Of course I want them to learn about the Italian language. That's my most immediate goal each day. However, embedded in each of my lessons are stories that relate to history or of travels or art and architecture or any other aspect of the culture. You cannot easily separate the language from the culture and by telling stories or showing pictures, I hope that I am sparking an interest in experiencing it first-hand. Naturally, I tell my students that one of their homework assignments is to visit Italy at some point in their lives- either with me or through a study abroad program or by whatever means takes them there. And then, they have share with me their experience.
My true hope is to create lifelong learners who have been bitten by the travel bug. I hope that they go anywhere that attracts them and that they learn about the people, the art, the language, the culture - even if it's not Italy. Ok, my heart my break a little if they don't make it to Italy but the world is a big place and I never had an appreciation for it until I traveled. Your immediate community seem so safe and secure and to have everything that you need that it can sometimes be difficult to step out of your comfort zone. But once you have, you'll be better for it. It gives you a new-found appreciation for what you have and for what you might be lacking. It teaches you tolerance and acceptance of differences. It prepares you to interact with people on a different level. Travel=education.