The course intends to deal with the key concepts of the teaching of modern languages, on a theoretical level and on that of pedagogical practice. These are concepts in constant development: every educational reflection, in fact, is placed in a defined temporal and spatial context, and also that concerning the specific field of language teaching is currently confronted with far-reaching phenomena such as geographical mobility, multilingualism, the evolution of multimedia technologies, supranational education policies and so on.
Starting from some historical guidelines of the discipline, we will examine, therefore, its central notions (interlanguage, linguistic input, communicative competence, linguistic abilities, pragmatic component etc.), taking into account some recent acquisitions both in language sciences and in the psychology of learning (cognitive and sociocultural theories), and the evolution of different teaching methodologies. We will focus on the intercultural dimension, understood as a process that goes beyond the idea of knowing the culture of the language being studied (static approach), characterizing instead primarily as a moment of confrontation with the discursive practices of a different community (the language-culture nexus) and as an educational process that has tangible effects both on the level of personal experience, and on that of the relationship with the variety and cultural diversity (dynamic approach).
Regarding the knowledge and operational skills of the L2 teacher, we will analyze the fundamental coordinates for the organization of a language course: from the analysis of the linguistic needs of the learners to the definition of the objectives and the planning of a didactic unit, from the choice of resources and tools for the training activities, to the management of the interaction in the classroom and the evaluation of the language learning path.
During the course, the reference supra-national document called "Common European Framework of Reference for Languages" (CEFR) will be also analysed. Addressed to all those involved in the teaching of foreign languages, the CEFR serves as both a theoretical reference and an operational tool: it presents and critically analyzes what has been produced so far in the field of language teaching and learning theories of a second or foreign language and, at the same time, it is a useful consultation tool to be used in educational contexts in which it is necessary to design courses of teaching and learning of foreign languages.
The objective of this module is twofold: on the one hand to orientate students with respect to the different types of learners with whom the language teacher must confront, differentiated not only by age groups, but also by cognitive and learning styles. On the other hand, to guide students in understanding the purposes of the CEFR, its structure and its organization, the levels and the corresponding descriptors of competence. All these elements are crucial to develop educational linguistic paths, as well as for assessing the achievement of the planned objectives.