Italian Classes, Translation, and Consulting since 2004
FAQ & Teaching Approach

Frequently Asked Questions & Teaching Approach

Why are your classes different from other institutions?

Small classes, manageable curriculum, relaxed atmosphere.

Unlike other places where class size can be as high as 20 people (15 being probably the average), we limit ours to 6. At the same time, we maintain prices that are very similar to our competition. As we want our students to have the best experience and results possible, we strive to make sure that students in a given group have a similar knowledge of the language. And, the instructor is always an experienced native speaker.

How do private classes compare to group sessions?

On average, an individual lesson costs three times more than a group class. As far as learning is concerned, from experience we can say that one hour of private instruction typically equals about three hours shared with a group. In other words, the two formats end up costing about the same comparing results.

If that is true, what is best for me?

Some people choose group sessions because they enjoy the social atmosphere and meeting new people. Others will opt for private lessons because their time is limited and cannot attend class at set times. Or, their learning style is such that they achieve more from individual attention.

Can I make up a class I missed?

Most students who sign up for group classes will miss a session or two. While that is not ideal, it does not affect the student’s overall learning experience. That said, students are welcome to sit in another class, if a suitable course is available. We make every effort to make sure our students stay on track.

How long does it take to learn Italian?

There are two variables to consider when it comes to gauging the amount of time necessary: individual commitment and degree of fluency. Generally—and realistically—speaking, with a dozen hours of instruction a person is able to communicate essential needs and understand basic answers and expressions. After a year of regular instruction and study, the student should feel comfortable carrying on conversations with natives on most subject matters, although perhaps still utilizing a somewhat simple vocabulary. Many people wonder how long it takes to speak Italian as "beautifully" as the Italians do… Well, depending on individual predisposition, it could obviously take years, and several trips to Italy. Which, one could argue, might not turn out to be a bad predicament at all.

                                                                                                                
Do you assign homework?

Normally, yes. A student should do as much work at home as it is done in class. One hour in class should be complemented by at least another hour of work at home for optimum progress. However, we understand that many of our students are busy professionals and we do keep that in mind. 

What can I do to improve my ability to understand spoken Italian?

A major problem for adults (linguistically, anybody over 14 or so) is the difficulty in identifying where one word ends and where the next one begins. Basically, two or more words are heard as one uninterrupted string of sounds.

Understanding a language is a skill like any other. The more exposure you get—listening to a native speaker in class, to CDs at home and in your car, to the radio over the internet—the more you are able to develop this ability of separating each word correctly. That is why it is crucial to hear Italian in class as much as possible.

Overall, it is a process that naturally takes time. Don't be frustrated by it.

How do I sign up for group classes?

Please send a check for the full amount of tuition to:

Nuovo Centro Italiano
340 15th Avenue East, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98112

Please make the check out to "Nuovo Centro Italiano". We will hold on to the check until we are sure the class is a go. Please include your name and contact information (phone number and email address). We will keep you posted on the status of the class.

Kindly call ahead if you plan on just showing up the day of class to confirm that the class is starting as scheduled or that there are enough spots left.

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Small Classes,  Manageable Curriculum,  Relaxed Atmosphere.

Why are your classes different from other institutions?   
Small classes, manageable curriculum, relaxed atmosphere. Unlike other places where class size can be as high as 20 people (15 being probably the average), we limit ours to 6. Our average class size is 4-6 students, so everybody has the opportunity to work on improving their skills. 
At the same time, we maintain prices that are very similar to our competition. As we want our students to have the best experience and results possible, we strive to make sure that students in a given group have a similar knowledge of the language. And, the instructor is always an experienced native speaker
.

How do private classes compare to group sessions? 
On average, an individual lesson costs three times more than a group class. As far as learning is concerned, from experience we can say that one hour of private instruction typically equals about three hours shared with a group. In other words, the two formats end up costing about the same comparing results.

If that is true, what is best for me?
Some people choose group sessions because they enjoy the social atmosphere and meeting new people. Others will opt for private lessons because their time is limited and cannot attend class at set times. Or, their learning style is such that they achieve more from individual attention.

Can I make up a class I missed?
Most students who sign up for group classes will miss a session or two. While that is not ideal, it does not affect the student’s overall learning experience. That said, students are welcome to sit in another class, if a suitable course is available. We make every effort to make sure our students stay on track.

How long does it take to learn Italian?
There are two variables to consider when it comes to gauging the amount of time necessary: individual commitment and degree of fluency. Generally—and realistically—speaking, with a dozen hours of instruction a person is able to communicate essential needs and understand basic answers and expressions. After a year of regular instruction and study, the student should feel comfortable carrying on conversations with natives on most subject matters, although perhaps still utilizing a somewhat simple vocabulary. Many people wonder how long it takes to speak Italian as "beautifully" as the Italians do… Well, depending on individual predisposition, it could obviously take years, and several trips to Italy. Which, one could argue, might not turn out to be a bad predicament at all.

Do you assign homework?
Normally, yes. A student should do as much work at home as it is done in class. One hour in class should be complemented by at least another hour of work at home for optimum progress. However, we understand that many of our students are busy professionals and we do keep that in mind. A certain amount of homework is expected particularly from students in group classes. Group classes need to stick to the program as closely as possible and students need to be, well, on the same page. Short tests will be regularly administered and corrected in class to gauge class progress and, more importantly, to understand what should be reviewed and what has been effectively learned. 

What can I do to improve my ability to understand spoken Italian?
A major problem for adults (linguistically, anybody over 14 or so) is the difficulty in identifying where one word ends and where the next one begins. Basically, two or more words are heard as one uninterrupted string of sounds. Understanding a language is a skill like any other. The more exposure you get—listening to a native speaker in class, to CDs at home and in your car, to the radio over the internet—the more you are able to develop this ability of separating each word correctly. That is why it is crucial to hear Italian in class as much as possible. Overall, it is a process that naturally takes time. Don't be frustrated by it.

How do I sign up for group classes?
 Please send a check for the full amount of tuition to: Nuovo Centro Italiano 340 15th Avenue East, Suite 300 Seattle, WA 98112.
Please make the check out to "Nuovo Centro Italiano". We will hold on to the check until we are sure the class is a go. Please include your name and contact information (phone number and email address). We will keep you posted on the status of the class. Kindly
call ahead
if you plan on just showing up the day of class to confirm that the class is starting as scheduled or that there are enough spots left.


Philosophy and Approach:  Small Classes,  Manageable Curriculum,  Relaxed Atmosphere.

After teaching Italian for many years at several major language institutes in Seattle, I decided to make some changes to the typical Italian class curriculum used in similar schools. Most of these schools follow the syllabus used in colleges or universities; many of them offer actual college credit so it makes sense that they would be using the same syllabus.  For this reason, most schools have to include in their first year program the study of the “subjunctive” (“congiuntivo”) and other complicated, advanced verb forms.
Our typical students are working professionals, busy moms, and people who don’t always have the luxury of studying two or three hours a day.  In the past, I realized that, at the end of the each quarter or year, many people felt like they were left in a daze. They had learned something, or even a lot, but the program, in an effort to keep up with a “standard” curriculum, was just too fast.
Therefore, I decided to postpone an in-depth study of the subjunctive and other forms to the second year. Classes are still somewhat fast paced but there is no hurry to cover every single grammar issue in the first year. My philosophy
 is that, in the end, students need to be comfortable enough to express themselves and communicate in Italian even if every verb combination is not exactly perfect. I cannot stress enough how important grammar is. In fact, every lesson formally introduces it, discusses it, and drills on it. Italian as a language strongly relies on complex grammar structures which ought to be learned. However, grammar per se should not replace practice. 
Practice, practice, practice. My students have heard this a million times from me, but guess what? It works. 
 

Drop us a line at info@centro-italiano.comWe can't wait to see you in class! 

 
 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                

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