After living in Italy for three months, I’ve learned a bit about Italian culture; Italian behaviors and traditions are apparent in my classroom discussions. For example, Italians are quite disorganized. I noticed this the moment I began to plan my student teaching schedule with the school. I also noticed this disorganization in my communication with the teachers; for example, each week I was given a broad topic and could say anything I wanted about it. I actually enjoyed this vagueness a lot because I had freedom to choose a direction.
Through facilitating classroom discussions, I learned about what Italians think of Americans as well as American ideals and culture. For example, I did a lesson on Christmas and spoke with them about what they thought of American Christmas and how Italian celebrations differed. Another lesson was on the idea of the “American melting pot” since my CT had asked me to talk about it – it was my most difficult lesson to plan because I didn’t know how to talk about the complex concepts of immigration, ethnicity, race, and diversity in a simple and elementary way. Nevertheless it was one of my favorite discussions with them because I enjoyed learning about what Italians think of American diversity – the students admitted that Italy is nowhere near as close and that probably half of the population holds some form of racist beliefs. I had realized that Italians were resistant to change before I gave this lesson, but I didn’t realize how self-aware they were. It gives me hope that the young Italians are thinking about these issues and open to admitting that there needs to be change.