GIOVENTU » Learning English becoming an obsession for young Italians

Learning English becoming an obsession for young Italians

Learning English has become an obsession for Italians. No matter the crisis, parents are so worried for their children’s future that whoever can afford it send their sons or daughters to study abroad.

The Minister of Education Stefania Giannini has recently announced new measures to improve Italians’ language skills. The main novelty has been the introduction of CLIL, Content and Language Integrated Learning, introduced in other European countries from the 90’s. One subject will be now taught in English even from elementary school. Scientific subjects seem the most suitable for the new teaching method but at high school, also Humanistic subjects, such as history of art and Philosophy might be taught in English.  

From next year the government will reorganise the recruiting process taking into account teacher’s language skills. To face the current linguistic and cultural diversity, the new plan foresees also the teaching of the Italian language for children who are not Italian native speakers.

The risk at stake, while teaching a subject in English, is to impoverish the quality of the contents taught to adequate them to the teachers and students’ poor vocabulary. The impact on the students’ Italian language skills could be another problem. The risk might occur that children could know the specific language of a subject in English but not in Italian. Having a good knowledge of one’s native language is already a compelling task. Many Italian students can’t properly express themselves in good Italian. 

So, the new generation of Italians will speak more English, but for what purpose? To leave the country as soon as a better opportunity arises? Work in a multinational company? How many Italian companies really deal with foreign markets? Will this really boost Italian economy?

Moreover, Italian students are already performing badly in the scientific area and studying them in English might make things even worse, because understanding the subjects might be more difficult and the teacher might have less confidence while teaching in another language.

Furthermore, will speaking English be enough to compete internationally? Definitely not, if the main problems of the country are still corruption and lack of opportunities for young people.   

Giulia Lombardo

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