Welcome to Spunti: Italiano elementare 1 – a unique program, authored by the Italian faculty of Muhlenberg College, that takes the place of a traditional language textbook. Spunti is a fully designed course that a college instructor of Italian can use and adapt. It consists of:
- straightforward grammatical explanations;
- printable activity packets for in-class use included in the introduction to each unit;
- interactive exercises for linguistic practice and cultural enrichment for each unit;
- complete semester lesson plans included in the appendix for instructors.
After years of teaching Italian, we became frustrated by two aspects of available textbooks. First, their exorbitant cost, which presents students with a significant financial burden. Second, the limitations textbooks necessarily impose on our courses’ structure and approach to learning. So we decided to write our own, and make it available for free.
Our approach to language instruction is interactive, conversational and fundamentally task-based. We see grammar as a means for enabling effective communication, which is why our explanations of grammar are simple and concise.
There is no lack of Open Educational Resources (OERs) in Italian; quite the contrary. One can find a jungle of disparate materials of varied quality, which are hard to locate and synthesize into a coherent course. This is why we created Spunti: a free, comprehensive, coherent, agile, functional, and culturally rich course for Muhlenberg students, and for students of Italian everywhere.
Spunti is a work in progress, and we would greatly appreciate any feedback, suggestions, and adaptations that anyone can give us. Our hope for Spunti is that it can benefit from the input of Italian instructors and students from around the world.
This project would not be possible without the generous support of Muhlenberg College and our colleagues: Dr. Lora Taub, Dean for Digital Learning; Dr. Kathy Harring, President and ex-Provost of Muhlenberg College; and Dr. Eileen McEwan, ex-chair of the Languages, Literatures & Cultures Department.
For the second half of the elementary sequence, see: Spunti. Italiano elementare 2: https://open.muhlenberg.pub/italiano-elementare-2.
Daniel Leisawitz & Daniela Viale