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A delighted Italian class meets award-winning author

5 May 2021

Resto Qui
Resto Qui

Tutor launches book club during lockdown

Martina Gallina teaches Advanced Italian for Continuing and Professional Education (CPE).

When the country entered lockdown, Martina wanted to recreate the camaraderie of her classroom when studies switched online.

She was inspired to launch a Book Club and arranged for her students to meet Marco Balzano to discuss his critically-acclaimed book Resto Qui which left students enthralled.

Martina Commented: “When teaching started online I wanted to ensure my students received the same classroom experience they had before. I needed to maintain the discussions, interaction and friendship that they were familiar with and so important to language learning.

My greatest challenge was probably the fact that not all of my students are familiar with IT and I thought that a book club could have been a decent idea: real pages, real Italian, hard cover and something stimulating.

The class was soon hooked by the story and seeing their enthusiasm motivated me to try and get in touch with the author, whom I didn’t know before!

Resto Qui is about a German speaking community at the border between Italy and Austria that are forced to flee their land because the government wanted to build a dam. The Fascists also imposed with violence the use of Italian language over the German speaking people.

Students have commented on Martina’s dedication to deliver vibrant and exciting teaching every week:

“Learning a foreign language, particularly as the grammar starts to get more complex, is always challenging. Add to this the strangeness of learning online and the resulting experience could easily have been disappointing and discouraging.

However, thanks to the dynamism and creativity of our talented tutor, Martina Gallina, any initial reservations held by her Italian Level F group at the start of this year were quickly dispelled.

The highlight of the year was a live, group interview with the author online, our questions prepared and discussed together beforehand. A stroke of genius on Martina's part, and a real coup to persuade the author to take part. Bravo, Martina, e grazie mille” Brenda Despontin

“Both Marco Balzano and Martina Gallina, our teacher who had organised this meeting, contributed to make this session a truly lively and illuminating reflection on the role of the author and the contribution of the reader.

We gained at first hand new insights about the characters and their interaction with one another from the author’s point of view which was most fascinating.

Definitely at the end of the session we felt that our understanding of Italian had taken a step into a wider world of Italian culture.”

Marie-Laure Jones

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