JAMIE OLIVER’S GREAT ITALIAN ESCAPE DVDS AS A TOOL FOR TEACHING AB INITIO ITALIAN TO STUDENTS OF CULINARY ARTS
Dublin Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
It is well documented in cognitive science that learning does not take place until it is either shared or applied. Therefore, a major problem in language learning is its lack of reality. By engaging foreign language learners in real activities that use the target language the learning can be enhanced and accelerated. This study covers the use of DVD documentaries in the major interest field of first and second year degree level Culinary Arts students to help them learn Italian. By using Educational DVDs created for other educational aims, such as learning cooking techniques, the language learning becomes part of the engaging activity in their major interest and seems incidental. A study using Jamie Oliver’s 'Great Italian Escape' to teach ab intio Italian to first and second year culinary students shows great potential for combining students’ major interest with ab intio language learning. It can both accelerate the language acquisition and enhance the major subject, especially with vocabulary, since the words presented are those the students already use quite frequently. The documentary is not entirely in Italian, but incorporates many useful words for cooking into the dialogue as techniques are demonstrated visually. Since any text that is focused upon one subject will be limited in vocabulary to that subject, the target set of terms becomes naturally smaller and easier to learn. Rather like scaffolding, this makes a connection with something in which the student has an intense interest creating a reality and allowing the students to actually share and apply the language to their everyday activities. It also has the effect of increasing interest in the language, thus motivating the students.