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The paper will describe the challenges of creating and delivering Italian for Art Historians, a bespoke content-integrated language course created for ab-initio Italian language students in History of Art (the majority of whom first-time language learners), and The Role of Art in Italian Society, a second-year language module part of the Italian degree programme at the University of York. Main topic will be the illustration of experimental initiatives aimed to facilitate the acquisition of bespoke specialist language skills essential to the History of Art discipline (beginner level students), and the use of Italian Art as a tool to develop critical thinking skills in a much broader language learning context (advanced level students). The first part will illustrate the challenges faced by the language teacher when planning and delivering an interdisciplinary content-based language module that has to be fully integrated into an undergraduate degree programme. Particular focus will be given to the collaboration between an art historian and a language teacher and its vital role in the creation of bespoke Art-related language teaching material and how this plays a pivoting role in the module planning. A number of case-studies will illustrate the impact that the interdisciplinary nature of these courses had in the applied teaching practice, students’ engagement and classroom activities. In particular, how the integration between the module syllabus and other components of the respective undergraduate degree programmes has led students to experience a deeper engagement in the learning process. The paper will also present examples of technology-enhanced teaching (e.g. online personal portfolios, audio and video material) and data analysis on how these were deployed to enhance the quality of the student engagement with pertinent art-related assessment activities, student-teacher interaction and monitoring of student progress.


Art, interdisciplinary content-based language teaching, employability

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