October 25 marked the start of the final 5 online professional development courses for Italian teachers abroad offered by the Consorzio ICoN under a memorandum of understanding made with the Directorate General for Italian Citizens Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cooperazione Internazionale. On August 23, the first of 31 courses for Italian educators was launched at government institutions in 12 different nations. More than 600 educators are currently engaged in the updated ICoN platform, studying principal concepts of Italian pedagogy and the fundamentals of digital pedagogy. The management of the 31 virtual classes is entrusted to 13 expert content educators, trained specifically by ICoN, together with a facilitator, who follow teachers throughout the virtual courses, propose activities and practical exercises which favor methods of co-construction of knowledge.
Teacher’s Professional Development
Each of the 5 courses investigates a theme specific to Italian pedagogy: from syllabus design and unit planning to the role of contemporary Italian language and contemporary Italian fiction in pedagogy, error analysis to the concept of assessment. To date, course evaluations have certainly been positive: “These courses – confirms Elisa Bianchi, coordinator of the ICoN teachers and tutors – have been designed to flexibly and efficiently respond to the demands for professional development, but also to enhance through sharing and discussions in the virtual classroom the knowledge and skills that teachers already possess. These teachers have appreciated this formula that, thanks to a pedagogical mode of delivery that has been highly standardized, allows them to reconcile their professional course of study with their commitment to their work, with a workload that is entirely sustainable.”
In the wake of encouraging results from this cycle of courses, ICoN will, in January 2017, offer to individual educators two virtual courses “Progettazione didattica: sillabi e unità di apprendimento” (corso verde) and “La lingua italiana di oggi nella didattica dell’italiano a stranieri” (corso rosso) (“Pedagogical planning: syllabi and unit plans,” the green course; and “The Italian language today in the teaching of Italian to foreigners,” the red course). These two courses will be offered to individual educators until November 1. For further information, please visit ICoN website.