Good morning! It’s Friday morning and all over Italy students are getting ready to get back into the classroom! Are YOU ready! Monday all hell breaks loose with the beginning of lessons and the new-students orientation. This is the first combined orientation of all language course paths (we’re no longer “corsi di laurea” ma piuttosto “indirizzi”). Unfortunately, I won’t be there until about 12:30 – if things are still going on. I’ll be teaching contemporary history – which will be fun in it’s own right.
This post, therefore, will serve as a WELCOME BACK!!! I really look forward to seeing you all again, and meeting the incoming new students. Now here’s the pep talk (a pep talk is a orally communicated motivational message designed to encourage a team or other group of people to maximise performance and increase their motivation towards the tasks in front of them.)
This year, we WILL work hard!!! I’m becoming satisfied with the level of difficulty and direction of the second year exam, and this requires that we do a lot in and out of class! We need to “kick it up a notch” (increase our output of energy). In past student orientations, our various directors have spoken about how CL4 worked as a team (better metaphore than “family” – where pissing each other off is “par for the course” – look this up, it’s a golf metaphore). Working as a team requires COMMUNICATION – and lots of it. You may consider me one of your coaches.
The first thing we need to establish are: GOALS
There are two primary goals in university study. They are closely related, but sometimes divergent. They are:
success relative to the specific exam
success in learning the material presented and increaseing overall knowledge.
Why do I suggest that these are sometimes divergent? Well, often the technical and specific needs of an exam must take precedence over other forms of learning that do not seem directly related to course material. The real trick is to COMBINE course material with external material and CONTEXTUALISE the learning. WE are fortunate in the listening part of Language and Culture for Business (I don’t care that we’ve changed our name to LAZ – Lingue aziendali – the cultural aspect is the single unifying concept in the entire programme. In CL4/LAZ listening, we have the flexibility to look at a very wide variety of material, including audio and video. We will look at a wide variety of themes, much of which oriented toward the study and understanding of relationships between language, culture and business as well as the more specific area studies. Our time over the next two semesters, and I include myself in this, MUST be spent maximising our exposure to topics and material that will help us learn about these relationships (language, culture and business). NO EXAM CAN COVER ALL ASPECTS OF THIS LEARNING, BUT THE MORE YOU LEARN THE MORE UTILITY YOU WILL OBTAIN FROM YOUR EDUCATION WHEN YOU GO INTO THE WORK FORCE!!! This is true for me too. This year you will have many, many, many, many hours in the classroom with many, many, many professors studying many, many, many apparently different subjects. These subjects are all related, however, and WE will try to look at the relationships between them. It is important that you consider time in the classroom as only ONE phase in the learning of any given subject. The other phases occur when you read the texts, do the exercises and look for other types of material (CNBC, The Economist, The International Herald Tribune, movies, friends, etc.) that reinforce you specific subject learning. In a sense, you begin to “live and breath” your studies – this does not mean that you can’t have fun. A great amount of learning happens in pubs (not drunk!) or other places where conversation can flow freely!!! USE THIS!!! When you’re bored, grab a foreign newspaper – keep up with the news, on-line and off-line, and discuss these topics when you’re at your “aperitif” in the evening. You will find that many of the things you like to do (movies, films, etc.) have a context in the shifting political and business climate of the day. PAY ATTENTION TO THE WORLD AROUND YOU!!!
So – that’s the pep talk. Not too bad, huh? I really look forward to meeting you if your a new student, and seeing you again if you’ve been here for a bit!
DO HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!! See you on Tuesday!
p.s., I’ll try to get another recorded commentary on the credit crisis up over the weekend. It’s bad boys and girls, it’s bad – but incredibly interesting!