Starting new this year, Mrs. Claudia Durand has launched an Italian introductory class as an option for Riverside students. It has been a great success as she is a fantastic educator, using a different method called Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS). “My lessons are centered around telling stories to our class with student actors,” said Durand. She continued to explain the research done on the method which shows that language is learned and mapped onto the brain through high exposure to understandable language. “Learning a language needs to be fun and natural in a low stress environment where you feel free to take risks,” said Durand.

“Learning a language needs to be fun and natural in a low-stress environment where you feel free to take risks.”

“When I first heard of this class, I got really excited,” said grade 11 student Hailey Smith. She describes the reason she was interested in this class as because she is wanting to study art history with a focus on Italian painters. “For people taking this class in the future, I recommend paying attention and participating! These two points are crucial while taking this class, as it is so interactive,” said Smith.

Manroop Thandi, another Introductory Italian 11 student, shares that her decision to take Italian was influenced by her desire to develop a basic level of understanding for future occasions. “In a few years, I want to go to Italy with my friends and family and be able to understand and communicate with the people there,” said Thandi. She expresses her liking of the system Durand uses due to it being a more effective way of learning. “I would recommend this class to someone considering to take it because you have fun while learning a lot.”

“I like the method of teaching,” said Alyson Vance, a grade 11 student who is part of the class. “She gets us all to really participate. Whether you’re acting in a story she makes out or repeating after her,” said Vance. She even took notice of her great progress. “I can hold up a pretty decent conversation and I have been taking French my whole life, and I feel like I’m at the same level already!”

Durand has a lot of fun activities planned for the students, including her mother who will come into the classroom and teach students how to make pasta and tomato sauce from scratch, all in Italian, of course! Not only that, there will be a Spring Break 2019 Italy/Greece trip from March 20 to April 1. 47 students and six teachers (Mr. Ahmelich, Ms. Keating, Ms. Tate, Mr. Barrazuol, Mr. Hyde and Mrs. Durand) will be visiting Florence, Rome, the Vatican, Pompeii, Delphi, Athens and even cruise through the Greek Islands! Talk about a great way to get a nice break from school!

Durand is really happy to be teaching this class and is even more excited to teach another Italian 11 class as a follow up to the introductory course starting next year. “I highly recommend taking this class,” said Smith. “Italian is very interactive, fast paced and overall fun!”