During my long convalescence from surgery in December, I’ve been spending a lot of time studying Italian and I’ve discovered a wonderful group of Italian teachers through Instagram. These are great teachers to follow because they share a bit of their Italian selves giving you a chance to understand the great varieties of Italian culture throughout the regions and practice Italian along the way. They are very generous in giving lots of authentic content and advice on language learning.
One teacher, Gloria Spagnoli of SpeakIta, interviewed me the other day about how I study learning Italian. It’s not something I get asked about often and she asked a lot of interesting questions that were fun to answer.
She asked me about how I started to learn Italian and about the kinds of tools I used. Aside from two formal courses, when I was living in New York and London, I studied Italian from grammar books and read a lot. But I’ve discovered since then there is so much more out there now from all these online platforms, like websites, Youtube, Instagram, and podcasts.
I wrote in another blog post about some online resources, but I’d like to focus on these amazing Italian teachers that I’ve gotten to know over the months. If you’re looking for interesting ways to study Italian on your own, each of these teachers offers plenty of creative and fun exercises for listening, speaking, writing, grammar study and vocabulary building.
6 Italian teachers to follow
Cinzia Ferri, based near Savona, of Instantly Italy offers e-courses, private lessons on-line, and lots of free resources and activities on her blog and Instagram account. Her weekly newsletter is full of interesting reflections on the language and culture. This past February she created a month-long Italian writing challenge with daily writing prompts. I’ve had a great time following this challenge and filled up pages in my notebook writing about what I was like as a child, an imaginary conversation with my favourite actor, what I’m grateful for, an episode from an Italian podcast, and all sorts of other things. I learned a lot through this guided exercise. With writing, I can take the time to look up words and think about grammar and not worry about losing someone’s attention like I do when I’m speaking. I also ended up going beyond the prompts and writing a lot more in my notebook.
Lucrezia Oddone, based in Rome, of Learn Italian with Lucrezia, has an AWESOME YouTube channel full of mini-Italian lessons that span grammar, listening, vocabulary building and pronunciation. They’re all done in Italian and they’re very clear and easy to follow. Her lesson topics range from beginner to advanced level and I’ve found them so helpful. They’ve given me a lot of ah-hah moments. Her Instagram profile is fun to follow, too, where she gives a lot of commentary on contemporary Italian culture and gives you a behind the scenes look at the making of her videos. You can check out her website and find other resources such as her podcast, blog posts, private lessons on Italki and other social media accounts.
Gloria Spagnoli of SpeakIta offers a conversation club for Italian students who need a boost in their speaking and listening skills. Her focus is on helping people develop their conversational skills in Italian and take the fear out of speaking. Her blog posts and Youtube videos give often over-looked advice to those studying such as how not to get lost in conversations, how to manage stress and frustration and how avoid negative thinking when learning a new language. Alongside learning the actual language, it’s also nice to have some advice on how to deal with the emotions that go along with it. I’ve often felt nervous, shy and frustrated with myself when speaking Italian. In one particular way, the conversation styles are different here. Lots of times people, especially here in Napoli, won’t stop talking unless you interrupt them and add your own thoughts to the conversation. So, if I’m feeling shy, especially around someone new, I end up sitting there and just listen. It’s a long learning process for me to jump in and demand some speaking space.
Con Parole Nostre
The next three online teachers host one of my favourite podcasts in Italian Con Parole Nostre which discusses all aspects of Italian culture in a friendly conversational style. It offers a nice insight into Italian life from the point of view of Italians. The three women talk about things such as gelato, Sunday lunches, what they love and hate about Italy, and other topics of Italian life. I love listening to them while cooking dinner because it feels like they’re sitting around the table talking.
Elfin Waters is an online teacher of both English and Italian and her Instagram offers a great community for Italophiles. She grew up in a bilingual household in Italy and lives in Cremona. Every year she offers an Italian language retreat, a full-immersion holiday in Gaeta, a small city outside of Rome, that on the clearest and coldest days I can see from Ischia. The retreat gives people a glimpse of Italy from an insider. And if you can’t join her retreat, you can follow her Instagram stories, which shows her daily life in Italy and her posts are both in English and in Italian so you can practice your skills.
Barbara Rocci of Time to Be Italian, based in the UK, offers e-courses, online lessons, and language trips to the region Le Marche. Her approach acknowledges that we tap into different parts of ourselves when we speak another language and she aims to make you feel closer to Italy when you speak Italian. She tries to help you let go of the fear that holds you back and lets you connect with the language and culture so you can feel a little bit Italian no matter what your level. Her Instagram posts are in Italian and English so you can practice.
Silvia Perrone, based in Tuscany, of Italearn, gives you the chance to embrace Italian in a fun and creative way through collage, blackout poetry, and drawing. She offers e-courses, downloads and Italian labs and workshops. She gives you the chance to embrace Italian in a fun and creative way through collage, blackout poetry, and drawing. I love her Instagram profile and her #fridaynightitalian videos have been giving me great ideas for creative projects in Italian. She’s been so much fun to follow and she’s inspired me to use my Italian notebook, not only as a way to improve my writing in Italian, but also as a creative outlet.
If you’re looking for some new ways to study Italian, I highly recommend you follow these Italian teachers.