New Art in Italian Elective

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By Hiruni Kumari

The Stuyvesant World Languages department is offering a new elective, Art in Italian. Sponsored by the Italian American Committee on Education program, as well as the Education Office of the General Consulate of Italy, the course will be taught by Pasqua Rocchio. Rocchio, who has been teaching Spanish III for the past 25 years, is Italian and taught the language for 15 years before Stuyvesant removed it this fall.

This one-semester elective will be humanities-based, focusing on the different periods, styles, and practices of Italian art. The core class material will consist of a collection of pieces ranging from prehistoric times to the contemporary era. “[The classwork] is going to be short readings at the basic level and then taking the basic grammar out,” Rocchio said.

Assistant Principal of World Languages Francesca McAuliffe said, “It’s really art- and culturally- driven with language components being presented as well. So it’s really great for Ms. Rocchio’s passion for Italian art and culture.”

Though no knowledge of Italian is required, students are expected to gain basic language skills by the end of the course through analyzing and discussing Italian art. Additionally, students are also expected to be able to speak and write responses in Italian at an entry course level.

Students like junior Zoe Davis have already submitted their requests for Art in Italian, which was prioritized as their top elective. Davis currently takes AP French but had prior exposure to Italian in middle school. “I’m most looking forward to a day when we can learn a different language other than the one we’re taking—talk, chill, hear a different language for 45 minutes,” Davis said.

Art in Italian is currently the only Italian-related course offered, and it is especially unique because students are not expected to come in with any prior knowledge of the language. “The only thing that we have are the themes and the films for Spanish, but those are intended for students who have already passed the proficiency of their language,” McAuliffe said. However, Rocchio will be expected to differentiate amongst students and plan appropriate materials and activities.

The World Languages department decided to create a new Italian elective rather than reinstalling a full Italian language program because they want to provide assistance to teachers who are the only ones teaching a specific language. “We weren’t looking to add necessarily another full language at this point because we already have six. We have some single teachers we would like to provide some extra support for so that it’s possible for students to have different viewpoints from language and from different teachers,” McAuliffe said.

However, though the World Languages department currently holds no concrete plans to launch any other new language courses, another language elective is a possibility. “It’s always a thought. We want to make sure that the Language department is flexible enough to meet the needs of students and to represent things that will be beneficial going forward,” McAuliffe said.