The workbook in elementary Italian programs.
Previous research in this journal has examined first-year Italian programs (Colussi Arthur), second-year Italian programs (Nuessel), elementary and intermediate Italian readers (Colussi Arthur and Nuessel), and self-instructional programs (Antenos-Conforti). An extremely important part of the elementary Italian language program, the workbook, has never received any critical attention despite its virtual universal incorporation into the first-year Italian syllabus. The present study provides this analytical perspective, and it is based on research completed in 2004.
Workbooks are a common component of the numerous ancillaries that accompany first-year Italian programs but no study of this pedagogical constituent exists. This ancillary part of an elementary language program not only reinforces the content and materials in the textbook but also parallels the basic structure and format of the text. The workbook is a freestanding manual that addresses materials considered to be incompletely covered within the text. It is, in essence, a supplementary tool designed to amplify certain skills of the second-language. At the same time, this same rationale can also explain its absence from certain elementary Italian programs, i.e., the authors of certain basic Italian programs believe that the text itself provides sufficient reinforcement exercises. In a few cases, another ancillary substitutes the workbook, e.g., a computer component.
In this study, we will examine the following workbooks associated with the following seven well-known first-year Italian programs.
1. Workbook to Accompany Prego! An Invitation to Italian. 6th ed. G. Lazzarino and A. Dini. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004b. [Also available as an online workbook Lazzarino and Dini, 2004a].
2. Ciao! Workbook and Lab Manual. 5th ed. C. Federici and C. Riga. Boston: Thomson Heinle, 2003.
3. Oggi in Italia Workbook/Lab Manual. 7th ed. F. Merlonghi, F. Celli Merlonghi, J. A. Tursi, and B. R. O'Connor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
4. Parliamo Italiano! Workbook/Lab Manual/Video Manual. 2nd ed. S. Braciforte and B. R. O'Connor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
5. Eccoci! Beginning Italian, Workbook & Laboratory Manual. Prepared by Ugo Skubikowski, by P. Blelloch and R. D'Angelo. Indianapolis, IN: John Wiley & Sons, 1997.
6. Adesso! Workbook/Lab Manual. 2nd ed. M. Lettieri and R. Maiguashca. Boston: Heinle and Heinle, 1997.
7. Basic Italian Workbook/Laboratory Manual. 7th ed. C. Speroni, C. Golino, and B. Caiti. Revised by P. Caro. Fort Worth, TX: Holt, Reinhart and Winston/Harcourt Brace, 1993a.
To better understand the role of the workbook within the second language programs enumerated above, numerous factors must be considered, e.g., theoretical justification, and presentation of methodologies. This investigation will illustrate the function of the workbook within basic Italian programs in general, then proceed to examine in more detail the workbooks enumerated above. The ensuing discussion follows the framework delineated below.
1. Purpose and Function. This section will analyze the workbook, centering on its objectives and special features as part of a complete program. In this subdivision, we will address two issues: (1) the circumstances under which the workbook first appeared in Italian second language programs; and (2) review its scope from the realm of second language programs to language studies in general.
2. Similarities and Differences. This section will consider the structure and methodological foundation of the workbook with regard to overall organization, and it will compare the structures of the workbook chapters.
3. Activities. This section will classify systematically the exercises and it will compare the numerous forms of writing practice in terms of variety and frequency. We will provide tables for each comparison (see Tables 1-3 at the end of this article).
4. Other Features. This section will examine those aspects that that do not belong to organization or activity type, and it will look at novel and miscellaneous elements contained within these workbooks.
5. Concluding Remarks. This section will review the role of this supplementary pedagogical component.
PURPOSE AND FUNCTION
A clearly identifiable trend of textbooks over the past thirty years places a greater emphasis on the formation of oral skills rather than the written usage of the second-language. What is also common in foreign language programs during the past several decades is "the discipline 'language writing skills' [that] has become a regular feature or a major component of such grammars" (Johnsen 54). As with other skills, the skill of writing is developed via extensive practical exercises, which in language classrooms generally take the form of a workbook.
The Emergence of the Italian Workbook
The advent of the workbook in North American Italian second-language programs occurred in 1965, accompanying the revised edition of Basic Italian (Speroni and Golino). Brigola's Practicing Italian emerged during the foreign language revolution of the early 1960s with the introduction of the audiolingual approach. A primary assumption of this method is that students acquire second-language skills more effectively through the spoken word (Rivers 1968 36-41). Therefore a foreign language program that espouses, even in part, this method, embraces the postulate investigated by Rivers. In their prefatory statement, Speroni and Golino acknowledge that "[i]n preparing the present edition, we have in many ways complied with the new techniques in the teaching of foreign languages and the new orientation in the field" (Speroni and Golino v).
The addition of the workbook Practicing Italian (Brigola) to Speroni and Golino's Basic Italian program adheres to the new methodology of audiolingualism. The authors, however, "believe that it would have been wrong to abandon many of the good features of [the] first edition" (Speroni and Golino v), and thus preserved these valuable elements. In order to achieve a balance, Basic Italian introduced additional instructional materials to harmonize the traditional approach with a more conversational method. Although the first objective of Practicing Italian was "to provide the basis for a substantial portion of the laboratory program," this multi-purpose manual also sought "to provide additional written exercises which reinforce aural-oral learning" (Brigola 1965 v). The focus of the workbook in the Basic Italian language program is thus on the written form of language skills.
Prior to any discussion of the role of the workbook in the seven Italian programs identified above, it is necessary to consider the role of the workbook, in view of the appearance of Practicing Italian, within the second-language curriculum. As evidenced by the available literature on foreign language education, pedagogues and researchers have alluded only indirectly to the theoretical principles of the workbook, generally within the framework of evaluating a second-language program. Rivers (1968 371) inquires of the availability of a workbook; while Ariew also asks about additional materials, and cautions the evaluator of the second-language program to ensure that the material of the workbook "not merely duplicate[s] the main text's" (25). For Brooks, conversely, the benefit of the workbook rests in its independent nature--he contends it to be "a highly personal affair that must be adjusted to the learner's circumstances and calculated progress, and should be used by one student only" (72). Osborn, in her report on "The Purposes, Uses and Contents of Workbooks and Some Guidelines for Publishers" succinctly provides the objectives and roles of the workbook within any elementary program.
The workbook functions in different ways for both teachers and students. Osborn identifies the following ways in which this teaching aid serves the instructor: (1) it provides him/her with what is often the only clear and uncompromised feedback about what each student can do; (2) it allows him/her to provide individualized instruction (48). These functions are essential to the teacher because they provide insight into: (1) the effectiveness of the approach underlying the activities; (2) the in-progress performance of each student on all parts of a task; and, ultimately, (3) his/her instructional abilities (Osborn 48).
Because of the twofold nature of the workbook--its aim affects both input and output skills--the workbook allows the learner to achieve a suitable level of written proficiency (Osborn 49-50), it also provides an opportunity to practice reading comprehension. The activities within the workbook cannot be successfully completed unless both skills are adequately practiced. Thus, the role of the workbook serves to provide the learner with (Osborn 49-50):
1. a means of practicing details of what has been taught in the lesson;
2. extra practice on aspects of [second-language] learning that are difficult;
3. activities in which students must synthesize what they have learned or make applications to new examples or situations;
4. practice in a variety of formats they will use when they take tests;
5. practice in working independently (most tasks are to be done by students who are working without the help of a teacher); and
6. practice in writing, an often neglected area in the elementary curriculum.
The value of the workbook can be illustrated through its purpose, i.e., to provide practice in the learning of a foreign language, and to supplement the underpracticed skill of writing, and the way in which it assists both the second-language instructor and learner. It is possible to envision, as a result, the workbook as an integral component in the maintenance of previously acquired skills and the amplification of newly introduced elements (Osborn 57). The validity of this statement, of course, depends upon how the workbook functions within the scope of the entire second-language program. It is important to remember that an adjunct to any program is only a small part of that program, and it must work in tandem with the latter. Osborn confirms that the success and efficacy of any part of a delivery system is judged by how well it supports the rest of the system.
SIMILIARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
Because of the philosophy, the principles, and the overall design of an elementary second-language program, the appropriately integrated workbook will follow a similar conceptual framework. In this section, we will draw parallels between the individual instructional materials (both the textbook and the workbook) and we will compare and contrast selected individual features of the workbooks. Three tables, adapted for these manuals, which appear at the end of this study will form the basis of this discussion. These tables are: (1) Comparison of the Workbooks according to Overall Organization; (2) Comparison of the Workbooks according to the Organization of Each Chapter; and (3) Comparison of Workbooks according to Exercise Types.
Prior to assessing the structural components of the workbooks under review, a synopsis of the prefaces helps to define their format and function. This appears not only in the opening remarks of this supplement, but also in the foreword of the textbook.
1. Workbook to Accompany Prego! An Invitation to Italian. 6th ed. G. Lazzarino and A. Dini. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004b.
This program has the most thorough preface in which it specifies the objectives of the workbook, the features new to this edition, and the components which comprise the chapter design. It remains faithful to the sequence established by the textbook, Prego!, and it introduces each chapter with a Vocabolario preliminare, which practices the thematic chapter vocabulary; a Grammatica section that reviews the three to six grammar points of each chapter under their own headings; and Proverbi e modi di dire boxes that highlight popular sayings. There are also readings and accompanying comprehension exercises under the rubric Lettura, followed by Un po" di scrittura, which applies the newly acquired skills to offer the student's personal view on cultural themes and issues, and a final section, Attualita, that is "a rich selection of authentic materials which brings students face-to-face with the everyday language of contemporary Italy" (Lazzarino and Dini vii). At the conclusion of every third chapter there is a Prova-quiz to synthesize the structures and vocabulary of the two previous and current chapters.
2. Ciao! Workbook and Lab Manual. 5th ed. C. Federici and C. Riga. Boston: Thomson Heinle, 2003.
The focus of the written activities of this teaching aid is "vocabulary building, practice of structure, comprehension, and cultural enrichment" (Federici and Riga iv). The manner in which this ancillary comprises the workbook and the lab manual, however, is unique when compared to the other Italian program supplements. Rather than distinctly divide the ancillary into two different guides--one for written, the other for aural--, the authors of Ciao! have designed the latest Quaderni degli esercizi with writing and listening skills jointly practiced within the scope of a single capitolo, rather than segregating them. Each of the lessons begins with a Punti di vista, the same dialogue that opens each textbook chapter, with ensuing aural comprehension activities, then expansion writing exercises under the rubric Studio di parole. The next segment, Punti grammaticali, has the listening activities that follow each of the written sections, in comparable amounts (generally one aural for one or two writing exercises). Each chapter concludes with Adesso scriviamo!, "a short writing activity that recapitulates the vocabulary themes and grammatical structures covered in the chapter" (iv). Similar to Prego!, the systematic review of vocabulary and grammatical structures has a heading, for easy reference, that corresponds exactly to those given in the textbook.
3. Oggi in Italia Workbook/Lab Manual. 7th ed. E Merlonghi, F. Celli Merlonghi, J. A. Tursi, and B. R. O'Connor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
Although not as detailed as Pregol, the preface of Oggi in Italia consists of an introduction to the two main parts of the manual (the workbook and lab manual), and a "to the student" list of expressions associated with the tape program. The workbook consists of varied written exercises for each lesson in the textbook proper. These activities are divided into two sections: (1) Pratica del vocabolario e della struttura provides reinforcement of vocabulary and grammar topics individually, and it is suggested they be completed after studying the corresponding text material; and (2) Pratica della comunicazione includes personalized and more open-ended practice that integrates lesson topics which can be completed at the end of each text lesson (Merlonghi, Merlonghi, Tursi and O'Connor 2003 v).
4. Parliamo Italiano! Workbook/Lab Manual/Video Manual. 2nd ed. S. Braciforte and B. R. O'Connor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
This supplement also correlates to the textbook units. Like Oggi in Italia, the workbook, divided into two parts (Vocabolario e grammatica and Pratica comunicativa), provides practice integrating lesson topics in a directed manner, with opportunities for additional reading comprehension practice. The activities are designed to reinforce the vocabulary and grammatical structures presented in each unit. In the preface, some tips to follow when using the workbook are also provided, underscoring the independent nature of this ancillary. To close, an answer key for all written exercises in the workbook section is provided for self-correction.
5. Eccoci!: Beginning Italian, Workbook & Laboratory Manual. Prepared by Ugo Skubikowski. Written by P. Blelloch and R. D'Angelo. Indianapolis, IN: John Wiley & Sons, 1997.
The workbook that complements this elementary Italian program focuses on its "communicative approach by solidifying the grammatical base essential for effective communication" (Blelloch and D'Angelo iii). This ancillary labels all activities into sections that a) review vocabulary and thematic/cultural elements of the unit (Per cominciare, Incontri), which provide pictures and illustrations to enhance comprehension; b) have grammar exercises clearly designating the objective in English and Italian (e.g., passato prossimo con essere/present perfect with the auxiliary to be, avverbi/adverbs); and c) further explore more advanced grammatical notions (Espansione grammaticale). Finally, each unit concludes with Scriviamo un po'!, which offers a wealth of guided writing activities, with instructions in English, including letters, debates, newspaper articles, and traditional compositions.
6. Adesso! Workbook/Lab Manual. 2nd ed. M. Lettieri and R. Maiguashca. Boston: Heinle and Heinle, 1997.
The Adessol workbook/lab manual itself is not prefaced by the authors of either the workbook or the textbook. Since it closely follows the organization of the main text, logically then, it adheres to functional approaches in its additional reading, writing, listening, and pronunciation practice outside the classroom. Each capitolo is divided into two sections: Al lavoro! and Ricapitoliamo! The first part if further subdivided into Tema 1 and Tema 2, which correspond to the content of the respective textbook unit. Ricapitoliamo! may be perceived as a recycling of grammatical and conceptual materials presented within the entire chapter for reinforcement and review. Each chapter concludes with an open-ended Come si dice ...? activity, which allows learners to expand concepts and vocabulary, by allowing them to discover expressions or words they feel they need to know, with the help of a dictionary and/or the instructor. This collection of activities is both practice-oriented and task-based, concurrently uniting communication, culture and grammar for the student.
7. Basic Italian Workbook/Laboratory Manual. 7th ed. C. Speroni, C. Golino, and B. Caiti. Revised by P. Caro. Fort Worth, TX: Holt Reinhart and Winston/Harcourt Brace, 1993a.
This program takes a different approach to its prefatory statements by electing to introduce the supplement and to provide instructions to the student. Both sets of remarks emphasize the role of the workbook and the accompanying lab manual. Basic Italian identifies the goal of the workbook to be to help students develop the ability to write correctly in Italian, explaining that, meanwhile,
... the exercises are patterned on interactive discourse so as to further a student's speaking skills. The grammatical structures learned in the textbook are applied in a functional mode and serve the immediate needs of self-expression. (Speroni, Golino, Caiti 1993b, Instructor's edition vi)
In the instructions to the student, each chapter of the workbook "closely parallels and elaborates the grammar and vocabulary learned in the corresponding chapter of the textbook" (Speroni, Golino, Caiti 1993a v), and advice on how to approach the exercises and use the workbook most effectively is given.
These details regarding the initial comments of the workbook permit a more meticulous description of its overall organization. The overall design of the workbook is fundamentally similar within these Italian second-language programs as shown in Table 1.
The common elements can be summarized as follows:
1. All workbooks, except for Adesso!, preface their exercises with an introduction. These prefatory statements highlight first and foremost the purpose of the manual within the program, then present the layout of the chapters (which ordinarily coincides with the chapter organization of the textbook), while emphasizing the scope of activities and skills development.
2. All workbooks have perforated pages.
3. The table of contents depicts a minimal format, typically classifying the chapters according to number. Adesso! recalls the thematic title of the chapter, while Basic Italian prefers to list the grammar points of the chapter.
4. Except for Prego!, the published single volume comprises the workbook, the lab manual, and if applicable, the video manual. For those programs with only an audio component, the location of the corresponding chapters varies, with only Adessol electing to insert them immediately following the respective chapter, and Eccoci! and Basic Italian opting to keep them distinct in their own section of the volume. Ciao! has designed a more integrated approach to the audio component of the program, by including "Comprensione" sections immediately following the workbook activities and exercises, to allow the student to "work within the context of the practice you have already done" (Federici and Riga iv). The authors explain "[s]ome learners, however, may prefer to have the CDs handy to do the listening activities while they are in the same grammar topic" (Federici and Riga iv).
5. For those programs that incorporate a video manual (Oggi in Italia, Parliamo italiano), both manuals are located in separate sections, after the workbook.
6. Only Prego! provides a review, every third chapter, to be used by the student as a self-test.
7. The language choice for instructions varies with these volumes. Adesso! uses English for approximately 80% of the exercises, then adopts Italian for the final four chapters. Pregol and Parliamo italiano apply English in the first third of their programs, while Oggi in Italia and Eccoci! prefer to divide the language used--English in the first half, Italian in the second. Both Ciao! and Basic Italian use English exclusively.
8. The appendices found in Basic Italian list five sets of verb forms and expressions, with an English translation, for the convenience of the learner.
9. Other appendices provided by Basic Italian include an Answer Key to selected exercises of the laboratory manual. Ciao! and Parliamo italiano also offer an Answer Key to the workbook activities.
An examination of the sequencing of workbook chapters demonstrates that the layout duplicates that of the textbook chapters. Table 2 identifies the internal structural organization of these exercise books.
Each chapter can be described according to the following elements.
1 The first page reintroduces the student to the corresponding lesson of the textbook, usually by marking the chapter number, as well as the corresponding rubrics for each section. An additional feature found at the beginning of each chapter of Adesso's workbook is the exclamation "Al lavoro!". Frequently the chapter title/theme is also reproduced, but in the case of Basic Italian, this is omitted. Basic Italian introduces the chapter with a listing of the discrete grammar points together with "grammar charts that summarize, in diagrams and tables, the structural relationships" (Speroni, Golino and Caiti iii). These charts precede almost all of the workbook activities and reiterate the lesson topics, functioning as a reference source.
2. In Prego!, Oggi in Italia, Parliamo italiano, Eccoci! and from time to time in Adesso!, a special series of activities is dedicated specifically to the reinforcement of new lexical items. The form of these activities (see below), vary in their range from simple word association exercises to image description tasks. This verification process of the lexicon includes, on average, between two to three exercises. Eccoci! also provides an opportunity to reinforce content and culture from "Incontri," the introductory chapter presentation of themes and lexicon, by way of reading comprehension activities.
3. The organization of grammar drills is faithful to the respective text, with both Prego! and Ciao! presenting the grammar points in each chapter under their own headings. Eccoci! provides an "Espansione grammaticale" section that corresponds to the same rubric in the text, which presents more advanced grammatical notions, particularly with respect to exceptions to the rules, or a more detailed discussion on verb forms and uses. Found amongst the grammar exercises, Prego! also offers, on average, two Proverbi e modi di dire dialog boxes, which occasionally include a cartoon. As described above, only Basic Italian offers reference materials within the workbook, via tables and diagrams. All workbooks contain numerous grammatical exercises, from as few as four to as many as eleven.
4. The chapter synthesis aims to provide integrated exercises to reinforce both grammatical structures and vocabulary. A chapter review is found in Prego! as "Prova-quiz," in Oggi in Italia and Parliamo italiano as "Pratica della comunicazione" and "Ricapitoliamo!" in Adesso!. However, this section in Oggi in Italia, Parliamo italiano, and Adesso! offers activities that fulfill a goal of more than just grammar review, as we will be discuss below.
5. Cumulative reading passages appear only in two programs: every chapter in Pregol and every odd number chapter of Parliamo itallano. These readings, included for additional comprehension practice, have follow-up activities, the purpose of which is twofold: (1) to check comprehension; and (2) to stimulate personal reflection and cultural comparisons. The "Ritratto" section of Parliamo itallano is also the basis of the cumulative writing activity for every other lesson.
6. In every program, an attempt is made to recycle structure, theme and content within the lesson, usually by presenting cumulative writing activities. Its purpose is to reinforce, expand and apply all the concepts, grammatical and cultural, presented in the chapter. A review of the activities reveals that this occurs by either creative writing passages or dialogue completion. Although each program appears to use one form exclusively, Oggi in Italia and Parliamo itallano provide opportunities to apply both types of writing exercises.
Basic Italian implements only dialogue creation exercises, based on the Come si dice? sections of the main text, to be treated "as a skit, a real situation in which [the student] must interact with a specific character in a well-defined situation" (Speroni, Golino, Caiti 1993b v). The number of cumulative writing activities generally does not exceed two per chapter.
Upon reviewing the design of the workbook--specifically its overall organization and chapter sequencing--one can easily comprehend that, ultimately, the activities form the essence of the workbook. Without doubt, the exercises contained within the workbook should be relevant to the specific points of the second-language and thoroughly reflect the underlying methodology of the program. These simple parameters, however, cannot fulfill the requirements needed to achieve the objective of the workbook. To reach this ultimate goal, criteria must be established to reveal how this form of practice is beneficial. In her comprehensive discussion of guidelines for workbooks, Osborn (110-11) enumerates twenty guidelines for workbook tasks. Of those, the following fourteen are relevant for second-language workbooks:
1. A sufficient proportion of workbook tasks should be relevant to the instruction that is going on in the rest of the unit or lesson (also the vocabulary, concept level and language used in these exercises must relate to the rest of the lesson/program).
2. Another portion of the workbook tasks should provide for a systematic and cumulative review of what has already been taught.
3. Workbooks should contain, in a form that is readily accessible to students and teachers, extra tasks for students who need extra practice.
4. The vocabulary and concept level of the workbook tasks should relate to that of the rest of the program and to the students using the program.
5. The language used in workbook tasks must be consistent with that used in the rest of the lesson, and in the rest of the workbook.
6. Instructions to students should be clear, unambiguous and easy to follow; brevity is a virtue.
7. The layout of pages should combine attractiveness with utility.
8. Workbooks should contain enough content so that there is a chance a student will learn something and not simply be exposed to something.
9. Tasks that require students to make discriminations must be preceded by a sufficient number of tasks that provide practice on components of the discriminations.
10. At least some workbook tasks should be fun and have an obvious payoff to them.
11. Most student response modes should be consistent from task to task.
12. Student response modes should be the closest possible to reading and writing.
13. Workbooks should contain only a finite number of task types and forms.
14. The art that appears on workbook pages must be consistent with the prose of the task.
Table 3 provides the following classification of exercises: (1) vocabulary practice (2) grammar, (3) comprehension, (4) creative writing, and (5) problem solving. Because of their intention to focus on active vocabulary and expressions, it is not surprising to note that Prego!, Ciao!, Oggi in Italia, Parliamo italiano, Eccoci! and Adesso! implement a series of activities to further strengthen the recollection of new words, phrases and concepts. Prego!, in particular, provides more open-ended activities in which students are required to use the vocabulary and structures spontaneously in more personalized situations. Grammar drills similar to those found in the main text are also reproduced in the workbook. The exercises dedicated to comprehension, which synthesize all points presented in the unit, appear in Prego! Oggi in Italia, Parliamo italiano, and Adesso! These are a visible approach to actively sharpening reading skills together with the writing abilities. The creative writing activities, as previously discussed, center on a cumulative practice of chapter themes. The format of all the workbooks, except Prego!, provides sufficient space on the page for the learner to exert his/her writing ability. Prego! asks that the student use another piece of paper to complete the task at hand. The final variety of exercises, problem-solving activities, are found as additional practice of both vocabulary and grammatical structures in only three workbooks. These ludic activities, although adding a different dimension to channel creativity, are infrequently considered in many programs.
With regard to exercise types, there is a tendency in the workbook to contextualize meaningfully the activity for the student of Italian. The prevailing tendency has been to contextualize only open-ended, communication-type exercises that provided the setting for the meaningful written interaction. This trend has now expanded to controlled grammar exercises as well. In this way, Prego! prefaces many of its grammar drills with a predicament which presents the use of the language as genuine and functional. See for example:
"Giorgio, aiutami (help me)! Giorgio always has good advice for his friends. Pretend you are Giorgio and help out these people who find themselves in a bind. Be original!" (65)
In the examination of innovative approaches within the textbook proper, visual features are prominently observable in all the texts. The inclusion of line drawings and samples of mini-media--cartoons and authentic realia--has begun to appear in the workbook. Oggi in Italia has an extensive use of line drawings that are its impetus to communicative/creative exercises. Prego! and Adesso! incorporate advertisements, brochures, surveys, television guide listings, credit card applications and many more authentic materials in their workbooks to bring the learner true examples of everyday life.
Workbooks have also initiated a movement to lengthier, more detailed reading passages, the focus of which is strictly comprehension of more complex styles and structures, thereby enhancing the input skill. They also show an increasing number of problem-solving activities.
This investigation of the workbooks that accompany seven selected elementary Italian language programs, in their presentation of structure and content, focuses on the similarities and differences of the Italian second-language programs that include this ancillary instructional manual. We offer the following conclusions based on our research of this ancillary component of elementary Italian language programs.
First and foremost, it is important to note the value of the workbook. The purpose of this ancillary is to provide practice in the skill of writing, which, to some degree, has not been considered fully within the main textbook. Its function is distinct for the teacher and the student--the teacher is provided with an aid to properly assess the student's progress and the student is given a means of additional, independent practice in the second language.
Most workbooks are structured in a similar manner, i.e., they include a preface, a table of contents, tear-out pages, an audio lab manual, and appendices. The prefatory statements emphasize the following (1) the purpose; (2) the format of the workbook and its chapters; (3) its correspondence with the textbook. The table of contents appears according to chapter number, the only variations being Adesso!'s inclusion of chapter theme/title and Basic Italian's index of grammar points. The combination workbook/lab manual/video manual has been recognized as a cost saving measure. The appendices come in the form of an answer key for either the controlled exercises in the workbook, or the audio laboratory exercises. Basic Italian offers verb appendices for easy student reference.
The format of the chapters does not deviate from the pattern established within the textbook, and each chapter provides exercises for both new lexical items and grammar. With regard to exercise types, the variety of activities in the workbooks is remarkably more varied than that of the main text. Many additional diverse practice activities conform to the guidelines presented by Osborn.
Other aspects of workbooks demonstrate the implementation of current approaches in the overall layout of the workbook and within the entire program. Exercises tend to be contextualized. The implementation of games and recreational activities is also increasing. Likewise, a visual dimension is more prominent in the supplements, which have continued to develop the incorporation of authentic realia in the form of cartoons, advertisements, and so forth.
The conclusions reached from this examination of the workbooks have supported the underlying eclectic framework of foreign language teaching and learning, as was demonstrated by the analysis of the textbooks within the seven elementary Italian programs.
We would like to note that the workbook in several elementary second-language programs is now available in a new electronic format, namely, the online workbook. One of the authors has worked with the online workbook for Prego!. This program offers the workbook in its traditional hardcopy format as well as in the online format. Initial reaction from students and teachers for the electronic version is positive. The online version permits access anytime and anywhere. Furthermore, it allows the instructor to pick and choose which exercises the students will have to do, as well as customize any of the activities based on course or program objectives. Likewise, the instructor may allow the student to correct errors from one to as many as ten times. The automatic feedback procedure and scoring features are very popular with students, as it renders the learning process even more personalized--a key purpose of the workbook--as outlined earlier. There is also a listening component. This is only true with Ciao! that has a listening component included in the hard copy, too. Prego! does not have such a listening component in the online workbook, but it does have one in the lab manual which is beyond the purview of this article. In this regard, Italian elementary textbooks are beginning to keep pace with this new development.
The latest editions of Prego! and Ciao! include online workbooks as well the traditional print format. Both of these ancillaries are currently available in the e-learning environment developed by Quia, a web-based educational technology company. We believe that by the end of this decade the online workbook will be ubiquitous. (1)
Antenos-Conforti, Enza. "Self-Instructional Programs for Italian in the 1990s." Italica 75 (1998): 541-63.
Ariew, Robert. "The Textbook as Curriculum." Curriculum, Competence and the Foreign Language Teacher. Ed. Theodore V. Higgs, Lincolwnood, IL: National Textbook, 1982. 11-34.
Blelloch, Paola, and Rosetta D'Angelo. Eccoci! Beginning Italian, Workbook & Laboratory Manual Prepared by Ugo Skubikowski. Indianapolis, IN: John Wiley, 1997.
Braciforte, Suzanne, and Brian R. O'Connor. Parliamo Italiano! Workbook/Lab Manual/Video Manual. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
Brigola, Alfredo L. Practicing Italian. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965.
Brooks, Nelson. "Teaching Culture in the Foreign Language Classroom" Foreign Language Annals 1 (1968): 204-17.
Colussi Arthur, Gabriella. "Beginners' Level Textbooks for Italian in the '90's: An Investigation into the Current North American Textbook Market." Italica (1995): 452-73.
--, and Frank Nuessel. "Elementary and Intermediate Italian Readers: A North American Perspective." Italica (1998): 75: 564-95.
Federici, Carla, and Carla Riga. Ciao! Workbook and Lab Manual. 5th ed. Boston: Thomson Heirile, 2003.
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Lettieri, Michael, and Raffaella Maiguashca. Adesso! Workbook! Lab Manual. 2nd ed. Boston: Heinle and Heinle, 1997.
Lazzarino, Graziana, and Andrea Dini. Online Workbook to Accompany Prego! An Invitation to Italian. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004a.
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Merlonghi, Ferdinando, Franca Celli Merlonghi, Joseph A. Tursi, and Brian R. O'Connor. Oggi in Italia Workbook/Lab Manual. 7th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
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(1) The most recent editions of Adesso! (3rd ed.), Parliamo italiano (3rd ed.), and Oggi in Italia (8th ed.) all have online workbooks as well as the traditional print version.
ENZA ANTENOS-CONFORTI AND FRANK NUESSEL
Montclair State University and University of Louisville
TABLE 1: Comparison of Workbooks According to Overall Organization Prego! Ciao! Oggi in Italia Preface [check] [check] [check] Tear-out pages [check] [check] [check] Table of contents (listed according chapter # chapter # chapter # to) Manual Components Lab [check] [check] Video [check] [check] situated after ... each each activity chapter Review Chapter very 3 chapters Instructions written In English 1-5 [check] 1-10 In Italian 6-20 11-20 Verb Appendix Other appendices Parliamo Eccoci! italiano Preface [check] [check] Tear-out pages [check] [check] Table of contents (listed according hapter # chapter # to) Manual Components Lab [check] [check] Video [check] situated after ... each each chapter chapter Review Chapter Instructions written In English 1-4 1-9 In Italian 5-12 10-18 Verb Appendix Other appendices Adesso! Basic Italian Preface [check] [check] Tear-out pages [check] [check] Table of contents (listed according chapter # chapter # to) & title & grammar points Manual Components Lab [check] [check] Video situated after ... each each chapter chapter Review Chapter Instructions written In English 1-14 [check] In Italian 15-18 Verb Appendix * With essere * Irregular past participles * Reflexive * Indirect Object * Fare idioms Other appendices Lab Answer Key TABLE 2: Comparison of Workbooks according to Organization of Each Chapter Prego! Ciao! Oggi in Italia Leading Page Chapter title [check] [check] Synopsis of grammar Exercises of Active Vocabulary [check] [check] and/or Expressions Oral activity based on [check] Grammatical Structure Exercises of Grammatical [check] [check] [check] Structures Chapter Synthesis [check] [check] Cumulative Reading Passage [check] Cumulative Writing Activities Creative writing passages [check] [check] [check] Dialogue completion [check] Parliamo Eccoci! italiano Leading Page Chapter title [check] [check] Synopsis of grammar Exercises of Active Vocabulary [check] [check] and/or Expressions Oral activity based on Grammatical Structure Exercises of Grammatical [check] [check] Structures Chapter Synthesis [check] Cumulative Reading Passage [check] Cumulative Writing Activities Creative writing passages [check] [check] Dialogue completion [check] Adesso! Basic Italian Leading Page Chapter title [check] Synopsis of grammar [check] Exercises of Active Vocabulary [check] and/or Expressions Oral activity based on Grammatical Structure Exercises of Grammatical [check] [check] Structures Chapter Synthesis [check] Cumulative Reading Passage Cumulative Writing Activities Creative writing passages [check] Dialogue completion [check] TABLE 3: Comparison of Workbooks according to Exercise Types Prego! Ciao! Oggi in Italia Vocabulary Practice Describe-the-image [check] [check] Fuori pasto [check] [check] Word in sentence [check] Expansion exercises [check] Categorization [check] [check] Word scramble [check] [check] Grammar Fill-in-the-blanks [check] [check] [check] Question/Answer [check] [check] [check] Transformation [check] [check] [check] Completion [check] [check] Substitution [check] [check] [check] Translation [check] [check] [check] Recognition [check] Matching [check] [check] Multiple choice [check] [check] Form-the-question [check] [check] [check] Describe-the-image [check] [check] Scrambled sequence [check] [check] Comprehension True/False [check] [check] [check] Multiple choice [check] Question/Answer [check] Complete the dialogue Creative Writing Compositions [check] [check] [check] Dialogues [check] Tasks [check] [check] [check] Problem-solving Crosswords [check] Logic Puzzles Word searches [check] Parliamo Eccoci! italiano Vocabulary Practice Describe-the-image [check] [check] Fuori pasto [check] Word in sentence [check] [check] Expansion exercises Categorization Word scramble Grammar Fill-in-the-blanks [check] [check] Question/Answer [check] [check] Transformation [check] [check] Completion [check] [check] Substitution [check] [check] Translation [check] Recognition Matching Multiple choice [check] Form-the-question [check] [check] Describe-the-image [check] [check] Scrambled sequence [check] [check] Comprehension True/False Multiple choice [check] Question/Answer [check] Complete the dialogue [check] Creative Writing Compositions [check] [check] Dialogues [check] Tasks [check] Problem-solving Crosswords [check] Logic Puzzles [check] Word searches [check] Adesso! Basic Italian Vocabulary Practice Describe-the-image [check] Fuori pasto [check] Word in sentence [check] Expansion exercises [check] Categorization [check] Word scramble Grammar Fill-in-the-blanks [check] [check] Question/Answer [check] [check] Transformation [check] [check] Completion [check] [check] Substitution [check] Translation [check] [check] Recognition Matching [check] Multiple choice [check] Form-the-question [check] [check] Describe-the-image [check] Scrambled sequence [check] Comprehension True/False [check] Multiple choice Question/Answer [check] Complete the dialogue Creative Writing Compositions [check] Dialogues [check] Tasks [check] Problem-solving Crosswords [check] Logic Puzzles Word searches [check]
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|Author:||Antenos-Conforti, Enza; Nuessel, Frank|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2007|
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