The school in Lucca is a bit unusual. It focuses almost entirely on conversation and dialogue as opposed to grammar. I am not quite sure what I think about it.
When you first arrive at any school you are given an oral exam that lasts about 10 minutes and essentially allows the interviewer to assess whether you can understand the questions posed and, of course, your ability to answer the question and if you can conjugate the verbs, structure the sentence correctly, etc. You are then assigned to a class.
The last two schools I was at also asked incoming students to complete an on-line test. A fill-in-the-blanks type of thing. This provided the school with another means of appreciating whether the student can read the language and also allowed the student to convey if they could replace nouns with pronouns, how proficient they are in terms of the many verb conjugations, and their skill or knowledge of other grammatical components of the language. Things you might not use or have time to employ in a 10 minute oral exam.
The school I am in not did not ask me to complete a written test as, again, they are more focused on dialogue.
I have been here two days and an example of the structure has been that we listen to some recorded dialogue about three times and collect as much information as we can from that conversation. We are then broken up into pairs and share what we think we heard with our partner. Then there may be some kind of challenge with an opposing “team”; i.e. one team asks four questions about the dialogue and the other team has to respond, then the tables are turned.
Another example is that we have to read some passages and then participate in a quiz or game similar to the above.
It’s just a bit different than the prior two schools as there hasn’t been any time set aside to focus on the conditions of use of any of the grammatical elements within the dialogue. The technique being the way a child would initially learn the language, primarily be ear.
I’ll have to report back at the end of the week to see which course structure I prefer.