Subject Information - Italian

Head of Department: Mr Calum Ure

Course Progression: Italian


In a world where international contacts are increasingly vital and where global communication is ever easier, the importance of being able to speak other languages and understand different cultures is paramount. More and more employers are looking for people with good foreign language skills and more and more courses in Further and Higher Education are offering language options.

Young people proficient in foreign languages will be able to take advantage of excellent opportunities to spend part of their undergraduate studies abroad. You may find it interesting to know that employment rates for graduates with language skills are amongst the highest in the country.

Teaching and Learning

The emphasis in language learning is on oral communication. However, at all levels, we underpin this with solid learning of grammar and vocabulary and we develop the skills of Listening, Reading and Writing at all stages of the curriculum.

The Department puts language learning into context through a number of language opportunities abroad, eg to attend a school in Bochum in Germany, and cultural visits and outings to see foreign films and plays.


Italian (S5/S6) IB


In accordance with the international and multicultural ethos of the Diploma Programme, all pupils are expected to learn at least one foreign language. At George Watson's College Language B in Italian will be offered at Ab Initio level (Ab). The focus of the Italian Ab Initio course is on the acquisition of language required for purposes and situations usual in everyday social interactions. Thus, lessons are delivered in a communicative and interactive way to develop pupils' linguistics skills.

The international and multicultural ethos of the Diploma guides the development of this course outline. Accordingly, this course also aims to provide pupils with an insight into Italian culture, values and way of life, through topics such a Italian food, festivals, literature, family life and social structures. The aim is to develop internationally minded pupils, who in recognising their humanity and shared guardianship of our world, help to create a more peaceful and better world.

Recommended Entry

The Italian Ab Initio course is a langauge learning course for beginners; designed to be followed over two years by students who have no previous experience of learning the target language.

Themes and Topics

At Ab Initio level the course comprises three main themes and associated topics and pupils develop a vocabulary range that covers the most common situations in everyday life. Pupils' speaking, listening, reading and writing skills can be developed through the themes and topics below:

Themes Topics
Individual & Society The individual
Life at home
Social network
Food & Drink
Health & emergencies
Leisure & work School
Future plans
Leisure interests
Environment Location & direction
Weather & climate
Global issues


External assessment 75%

Paper 1 (1 hour 30 minutes): Receptive skills 30%

  • Understanding of four written texts. (40 marks)
  • Text-handling exercises.

Paper 2 (1 hour): Productive skills 25%
Two compulsory writing exercises. (25 marks)

  • Section A (7 marks): One question to be answered from a choice of two.
  • Section B (18 marks): One question to be answered from a choice of three.

Written assignment (2 hours): Receptive and productive skills 20%
A piece of writing, 200–300 words, in the target language carried out in class under teacher supervision. (20 marks)

Internal assessment (10 minutes): Interactive skills 25%

Individual oral (25 marks)

Three-part oral internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB towards the end of the course.

  • Part 1: Presentation of a visual stimulus (from a choice of two) by the student. 
  • Part 2: Follow-up questions on the visual stimulus.
  • Part 3: General conversation including at least two questions on the written assignment.


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