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Dott. Rita Balestrini

  • Lecturer
  • Teacher and convenor, IT3L6 Advanced Italian Language III
  • Coordinator, cross-departmental Language Teaching Community of Practice

Areas of interest

I have taught in the department, since 2004, on a range of Italian Language modules at all levels. I currently teach and convene IT3L6 Advanced Italian Language III and coordinate a cross-departmental Language Teaching Community of Practice.

I am interested in all aspects of second language learning and teaching, in ecological and sociocultural research approaches to second language acquisition, the psychology of language learning and teaching, the pedagogy of ‘language and culture’. I have organized and conducted workshops in language teaching methods (Laziodisu, Rome) and I have designed and taught courses of Italian language and Culture in a variety of contexts (Italian and American universities in Rome, Italian and UK Language Centres, Adult and Continuing Education - GCSE and A level). I have an interest in language assessment, evaluation, and independent learning. I have been a script marker for the Certificazione Italiano Roma Tre, External Examiner in the UK, and I am currently carrying out a project on evaluation and feedback in language learning. I have a background in cultural anthropology and applied linguistics and an ongoing interest in ethnographic representation and in the interface between language and culture.

Research interests

  • Language assessment, evaluation, and independent learning. I am currently working at a project aiming to foster the active participation of students in the assessment process and increase their uptake of feedback
  • Students’ narratives of language learning
  • The discourses which inform the policies and practices of Modern Languages as a discipline; the conceptualizations of ‘language’ and ‘culture’ and the implications that their imagined relationship has for the structure of foreign languages curricula and for language teaching and learning


Currently taught module:

  • IT3L6 Advanced Italian Language III (taught and convened)

Past taught modules:

  • IT1003 Italian Language and Culture Elementary: ‘Language’, ‘Reading in Italian’
  • IT1005 Italian Language and Culture Lower Intermediate: ‘Language’, ‘Reading in Italian’
  • IT2L2 Intermediate Italian Language: ‘Grammar’, ‘Lavoro sui testi’, ‘Language’
  • IT301 Advanced Italian Language III: ‘Responding to texts: presentation, discussion and writing’
  • IT1L1 Beginners Italian Language
  • LA1PI1-IWLP Italian 1

Research centres and groups

I am a member of:

  • Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM), University of Reading
  • British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL)
  • International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication (IALIC)

Academic qualifications

  • Laurea Magistrale Lettere e Filosofia (Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza)
  • ASILS Certificate in Teaching Italian to Speakers of Other Languages, DILIT IH, Rome
  • PGCert Teaching Italian as Foreign Language (Università per Stranieri di Siena)
  • PGCert Intercultural Education (Università degli Studi di Roma Tre)
  • PGCert Lifelong Learning (Università degli Studi di Roma Tre)
  • MA Applied Linguistics (University of Reading)

Awards and honours

  • Rewarding Excellence Award, School of Literature and Languages, University of Reading, 2019
  • Sharing the secrets. Involving students in the use (and design?) of marking schemes, Teaching and Learning Development Fund (TLDF) CQSD, University of Reading, 2016
  • Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Excellence Award (group award for the Italian Section) Reading University Students’ Union Excellence Award, University of Reading, 2016
  • Rewarding Excellence Award, School of Literature and Languages, University of Reading, 2014
  • Rewarding Excellence Award, Department of Languages and European Studies, University of Reading, 2013
  • Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning Award, School of Literature and Languages, University of Reading, 2008

Conferences and presentations

  • ‘From sharing the ‘secrets’ to working with students as partners. Enhancing the process of assessing writing and speaking skills in foreign language learning’. Researching, Advancing & Inspiring Student Engagement (RAISE), Annual Conference, 5-7 September 2018, Sheffield Hallam University
  • 'A teacher-learner collaborative appraisal of rubrics for performance based assessment in foreign languages’. Radical Pedagogies: A Humanities Teaching Forum, 11-12 January 2018, University of Kent
  • ‘What place for scholarship in university language learning and teaching?’ Enhancing Student Learning Through Innovative Scholarship Conference (with Chiara Cirillo), 16-17 July 2015, Durham University


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