The English Academy

About me and my students

My name is Daniela Schirripa, I teach at a private language school in Ardore Marina, RC Italy called The English Academy, which also offers Spanish, German, French, Italian for foreigners and Arabic. The age of our students varies from very young learners to older adults who find learning English stimulating at a later age, at various levels from beginner to advanced certificate preparation such as TOEFL or IELTS. We also have adults who are preparing for certificates to use in their work, and professionals who are already working and have found that English helps them progress in their careers.

About teaching in Italy

Most of my students are from the area and therefore Italian is their first language. The English courses in many state schools in Italy are based on massive amounts of grammar which is covered either too quickly or impractically, so the other aspects of the language are neglected. There isn’t much opportunity for students to use English in a practical way, for example, there aren’t many government-run cultural activities at affordable prices to help support English learning. A lot of students have difficulty with some aspects such as listening, as their only exposure to the language is at school. They lack confidence in their listening and speaking ability, which makes it quite challenging but interesting, trying to find new ways to get them to speak and open up a bit in order to practise their new vocabulary!

Why I use Macmillan Education resources

I love it when I can help a student understand something that he or she found complicated, helping them gain confidence to use their knowledge independently and attain their goals and objectives. I like using Laser and Straightforward, especially with mixed-ability groups, because they cover different aspects of the language, helping to strengthen the things they already feel confident in and improve areas they find the most difficult. I also use Global, the Ready For series and the Young Learners Skills series. The courses are motivating – my students like the activities related to other cultures showing how students from other parts of the world deal with the same issues they do, they’re very relevant to the general interests of most of the students. The Macmillan consultant I dealt with was very helpful with advice on the best courses for my students at different ages and I would recommend Macmillan to other teachers since I enjoyed using the courses.

Why I love teaching

I especially enjoy teaching teenagers because they are at the stage in life when they are finding out who they really are and what they would like to become. They have bigger, broader objectives and start preparing for life after school. Being a teacher has helped me in various aspects of my life. It has given me the confidence to believe in myself and realise that nothing and no one actually creates boundaries for you except you. The more we work on ourselves as people and as teachers, the more we have to offer to our students. The greatest success I have had in teaching is opening a school in a small town where I have gained respect from parents, teachers and students alike for the amount of attention and encouragement that I give them.