Italian Language Instructors and Curriculum Developers
Valentina Cioccari, BA (Hon), MA
Born and raised in the province of Rome, Valentina Cioccari spent her twenties studying languages and travelling in Northern and Southern Europe, engaging in many and varied cultural experiences. Studying Languages, Literature and Culture at university in Rome, she discovered her passion for the many ways cultural norms, expectations and context affect the way we use a language. She continued exploring the relationship between foreign language proficiency and the use of audiovisual media during her studies in London, where she earned a Master of Arts in Audiovisual Translation. In London, she worked as a translator and subtitle editor from English into Italian, observing the cultural differences between the American, English and Italian languages. Having to navigate her way around cultural differences in order to render meaning into conversations enriched Valentina as a foreign language learner and as a perspective teacher. With a desire for continued exploration, she pursued her love for language and film to Toronto in 2008. There, she continued her career in translating Oscar-winning films and television series into Italian, while pursuing her interest in teaching Italian. In the past seven years, she has taught and developed curricula for private language schools and schools of continuing education as well as for multinational companies. Bolstered by her studies in Adult Learning and Curriculum Development she founded ScuolaScuola, a ‘blended learning’ school that offers its students a personalized learning experience combining face-to-face instruction with online study, respecting individual learning styles and personal pace.
Eleonora Maldina, BA (Hon), MA
Born and raised in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Eleonora Maldina learned English, French, Spanish and German. Being aware of how demanding and difficult it is to become proficient in another language, Eleonora has made her life mission to help people communicate and overcome language barriers. With this goal in mind, she earned a Bachelor Degree in Interpreting and Translation from the University of Bologna, specializing in English, Spanish and Italian. Translating seemed like an ideal way to build bridges that would help people from different language backgrounds to understand each other. However, she soon realized that the best way to help someone interact in a foreign language is not to translate for them, it’s to teach them that language. Put it more simply, she is a strong believer of the old saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”! It was not by coincidence, then, that Eleonora started teaching Italian immediately after she moved to Toronto. Here she has worked as an Italian language instructor for over seven years, with a particular focus on oral and communication skills. Driven by the desire to improve herself as an Italian language educator, she pursued a Masters of Art in Languages and Literacies Education at the University of Toronto, where she focused on language teaching methodologies and language curriculum development.
Sebastiano Bazzichetto, BA (Hon), MA, PHD
Born in spellbinding Venezia, raised in medieval enchanting Treviso, Sebastiano Bazzichetto is an Italian language instructor from Italy who has recently completed his PhD in Italian studies, with a focus on Italian Baroque poetry. Besides literature, being also a former violin student, he is passionate about Italian art history, music and theatre, elements that he always merges into his language classes. Arrived in Toronto in 2012, feeling more a cultural promoter rather than a teacher, he fast understood that a language is the key to unlock the secrets of a society and its culture, and of Italian culture specifically. Sebastiano has taught extensively at the University of Toronto, and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, where he also held several lectures about Italian opera, and art and architecture of Italian cities. Seeking a stimulating environment where to teach his mother tongue and to meaningfully interact with students, Sebastiano enthusiastically joined the team at ScuolaScuola in January 2017.
Cristina Tommasi, BA (Hon), MA
Born and raised in the small town of Pero in Lombardy, Cristina Tommasi graduated with honors from the University of Milan with a degree in Philosophical Sciences, with a focus on North American culture. She’s been working in the field of education since 2013 and her passion for teaching has never stopped since. In the past three years, she has
worked for private schools and taught Italian to immigrants for charity associations in Italy developing an interest in social and immigration movements. In parallel to her professional interests, she’s an active member of a non-profit organization supporting projects with social purposes and promoting Italian culture throughout the world. Her love for Canada started in 2016, when she moved to Calgary to attend an Esl course at the University of Calgary. Cristina firmly believes in the importance of promoting Italian heritage all over the world and loves to share her language and upbringing with new students.
Laura Scaglione, BA, MA
Born and raised in Lake Como in Lombardy, Laura Scaglione graduated in Arts from the Catholic University of Milan, with a focus on modern Italian language, literature and dramaturgy. She continued her studies in Bologna, earning a Masters Degree in Performing Arts. In the past ten years she has worked and volunteered for several theatres, art companies and cultural institutions in Europe and Australia, where she moved in 2014. Her passion for teaching, culture and theatre merged giving her the opportunity to work in private and public schools both in Italy and abroad. Laura loves travelling and learning new things that range from semiotics, semiology and symbolism to neuro linguistic programming and life coaching, where the importance of words is fundamental. She recently moved to Toronto, where she started teaching in a daycare and in an international high school.
Sabrina Poggi, BA (Hon)
Born and raised in Savona, Liguria, Sabrina graduated at The University of Genoa with a thesis in ancient philosophy. During her studies, she developed a passion for Anthropology and other cultures, which led her to enroll in an Anthropology course at The University of Turin. Travel enthusiast, she has visited Asia and Europe several times and she landed in Toronto in 2018, where she started collaborating with Hansa Language School and ScuolaScuola, teaching Italian language and culture. She is passionate about performing arts, photography and outdoors. Sabrina is really curious and eager to learn new things and share them with others!
Laura Gornati, BA (Hon)
Born in the province of Milan to an Italian father and a Polish mother, Laura Gornati grew up in an undeniably multicultural environment. It was this foundation that fostered her passion for traveling and for exploring new cultures, so once she had to choose a university path, the way was clear. She did her undergraduate studies in Foreign Languages and Literature in Milan, then earned her Masters in Legal Translation in Turin before heading to Warsaw to work as a translator in a law office there. After this Laura started working at a travel agency in Switzerland, but soon discovered that her real dream was teaching. So back to university she went, where she earned a Master of Arts in Linguistics and Communication Science and started teaching English in private and public school. Yearning to improve her linguistic and teaching skills, she flew to Dublin to earn her CELTA certificate, as well as the opportunity to teach English at a true multicultural school. Enriched and inspired by this experience, she decided to up her game and obtained a certificate to teach Italian to foreigners, and with all this cultural baggage she moved to Toronto where she continues to develop her teaching career through working and studying, constantly adding to her CV through workshops and online courses. A new teacher here at ScuolaScuola , Laura looks forward to spreading her passion for both the Italian language as well as for Italy’s unique and enchanting culture.
Sara Savina, BA (Hon)
Born and raised in a small town in the middle of the beautiful national park in Abruzzo, in central Italy, she grew up with a dream, the dream to be able to communicate with everyone else in the world. Since the moment in which she learnt how to read, she fell in love with English and Spanish literature, which ended up fostering her passion for different cultures. These are the reasons why she chose to follow a foreign languages and literatures program in both high school and university, and it was during these years that she developed an interest in immigration movements, with a careful eye on how the Italian language evolved through the help of thousands of immigrants in different countries. Following this path, she graduated at the University of Rome la Sapienza with a dissertation on the Italo-American writer John Fante. After university, she started an internship with the University of California in Rome, holding conversation classes for American student. She came to Canada in 2014 willing to learn something more about this culture, to improve her knowledge of English and to develop her love for teaching.
Federica Giannicchi, BA (Hon)
Born and raised in a small town not far from Rome, Federica Giannicchi graduated in Foreign Languages and Literature, with a final thesis in Canadian Literature. It was there that the passion for the role of language shaping cultures began. She started working for the archeological Museums in Rome and kept cultivating her passion for art and English language, dedicating her free time in various cultural and volunteering activities and tutoring students of all ages. Only after few years working as an assistant for companies belonging to diverse business fields, she decided to dedicate herself again and with stronger passion than before to the study of languages and finally became a certified teacher of Italian as a Second/Foreign Language. In the past two years, she has worked for private language schools and taught Italian to immigrants for charity associations in Italy. Arrived in Canada in November 2015, in the following January she started her collaboration with ScuolaScuola, which gave her the chance to meet people deeply in love with Italian language and culture and allowed her to constantly transmit all her enthusiasm for this profession and all the shades that learning a foreign language includes.
Giorgio Tinelli, BA (Hon)
Southern Italian by nature, Canadian by choice, Giorgio Tinelli is an Italian lawyer born and raised in the Region of Puglia, where he spent his first 32 years, before moving to Canada in 2007. His life has been constantly oriented by old and new passions, which he avidly pursues both in his native and adopted countries. A true Gemini in character, Giorgio’s “double identity” adds colour to his life and career choices, thus creating a mix of apparent – yet interesting – contradictions. Winter lover, despite his Southern Italian blood. Wildlife and nature enthusiast, despite his career in the legal field. Giorgio’s history in the wine sector, is just the last piece of this scrambled personality. Until his mid-30’s, Giorgio simply didn’t drink wine! He was just not interested. A few years later, he has now become the wine specialist at the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario, an organization specialized in business relationships between Italy and Canada. Through his involvement in wine related projects and the several missions he organizes for Italian winemakers, Giorgio has progressively built a comprehensive knowledge of winemaking culture. Wine has become a true passion in his life, and as such, he decided to channel his enthusiasm into various activities, like the creation of a wine club, to engage friends and wine lovers through his professional network in Italy. Giorgio was recently awarded with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust certificate – Level II – and he is currently continuing towards the diploma.
Born and raised in the Tuscan countryside, Marco fell in love with cooking at an early age. Watching the techniques of his mamma and nonna in the kitchen, and taking part in traditional events – from harvesting the grapes to make wine, to butchering pork to make prosciutto and sausages, and making passata from tomatoes grown in the family garden – Marco gained an authentic, hands-on education in gastronomia all’italiana. After these casual experiences in Italy, Marco arrived in Toronto where he decided to step full-time into the restaurant business. He spent his first three years here working in Italian restaurants, merging the experiences from his traditional background with new professional cooking methods. Handmade pasta and pizza are two of the fields in which Marco quickly became a master. After so many carbs, Marco decided to change his diet and step more into the world of proteins. He worked for a year at an Oliver & Bonaccini French bistro, where he learned many of the classic French techniques. Working at the fish station, he gained confidence with and passion for these new cooking methods. Ultimately, Marco has continued to deepen his knowledge of the seafood world at Hooked, a fish store renowned for being knowledgeable, sustainable and for being staffed by passionate ex-culinary professionals. He is in charge of all aspects of fish butchery, customer service, restaurant wholesale and commissary production, and can also be found regularly teaching cooking classes to enthusiastic clientele.