Italian – Our Language Learning Approach – TCL

Italian – Teachers as Co-learners Approach (TCL)

There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, 

and no kind is without meaning.’ (1 Corinthians 14:10)


In 2023 St Monica’s began implementing a contemporary pedagogical approach to Italian Language teaching called TCL, Teachers as Co-Learners. Put simply, learning a language involves actively learning new words, and knowing how to put them together for the purpose of communicating.  

At St Monica’s we understand that learners need to hear and use new words a lot before they retain them –  up to 40 times. This is best achieved by multimodal input in the form of learning words, gestures, visuals, digital, animated cartoons and text.  This is achieved daily through short 15 minute Italian language-focused sessions that involve multi-modal exposure and repetition, which allows students to anchor their new language in depth and to transfer knowledge to long-term memory through interweaving and recycling across contexts. A strong emphasis is placed on the use of learnt spoken words alongside gestures and the visuals.

All teachers and students are co-learners of the Italian language and are supported by; a proficient speaking Language Assistant who supports the learning journey, and access to structured language resources to ensure the successful implementation of TCL. The TCL program also allows students to make explicit Literacy connections between their L1 (first language) and L2 (additional language). In participating in this innovative program, students demonstrate an increase in language acquisition and retention, higher levels of student engagement and confidence, and success in producing the target language spontaneously.

At St Monica’s School, the learning of languages (Italian) is strategically implemented across the school in daily, short sessions.Our language approach at St Monica’s supports a shift from isolation to an integration model of learning. Our classes engage in 15 minutes of functional language immersion each day. The languages taught at St Monica’s are English and Italian. St Monica’s uses the CECV Speak Up! Platform to assess student learning. Our language assistant supports staff in our co-leading and co-learner approach to language learning. 


Our staff engage with each other daily to ensure they are also learning alongside our students. In support of the partnership with CECV ‘Languages – Now were talking!’ strategy. We have four strategic drivers for language education. 

  1. Realising the potential of language learning to build students’ skills across the curriculum 
  2. Developing powerful Language teaching 
  3. Supporting deep Language learning 
  4. Ensuring the quality, rigour and sustainability of our Languages (Italian) program.

In this contemporary model, our educators are co-learners of language and are supported by the school’s Language Assistant. Students are immersed in 15 minute, daily sessions that focus on learning functional classroom language and the use of gestures to support language learning, retention and use.