Tels Talks – Anna Goletti, Language and Culture in Stuttgart
Anna Goletti, 37, was a TELS student throughout her high school years. After graduating in Languages for International Communication (English and Hindi) she specialised in the teaching of Italian as a foreign language. Life led her to Germany, where she is now a mother of two, and a teacher and coordinator at the Italian Institute of Culture in Stuttgart.
If you had 5 minutes to tell the story of your life, what images and colours would you use?
I think I would use the image of a day out on my bike under a beautiful hot sun in early summer, with a clear, deep blue sky. A simple and easy way to get around, but at the same time it takes effort, is engaging, and you can’t help but drink in the views and the sunlight. And I mustn’t forget also: water, sunscreen, and maybe a puncture repair kit and grazed knees. Unpredictable things are just around the corner, and travelling can be tough, but all these things make it all the more interesting.
The colours I would use are red and yellow, the two TELS colours that characterise me. In fact, I’m passionate and creative, I willingly work in a team and in an intuitive way. Obviously there’s no lack of impulsiveness and messiness in me – lots of messiness!
Lately some green hues have been appearing, and a few, but very, very few, blue ones, too.
If you could interview someone, who would you interview?
I would love to interview my children. It’d be interesting to ask them some “grown up” questions about what emotions they feel, and how the experience certain things. It would be nice if they, while still being children, could answer with words an adult could understand. You know, to give me an insight into their magical world of discovery, to help me recall what it was like. Perhaps because I rediscover my enthusiasm for the things I’m passionate about in their joy in life.
Seth Godin (ndr author of The Practice and This is Marketing) says that in processes of (positive) change the problem is not the word “no”, but the words “not yet”. Is there something you never put off? Why?
This quote brings another quote to mind, from a book I really loved, which is a part of me, which says: “there’s no such thing as trying, you either do or do not”.
At first glance that might seem an absolutist thing to say, but I think it’s actually quite logical. Phrases like “I’ll try”, “I’ll have a go” contain the seed of failure. In the idea of either “do” or “do not” you assume you will succeed.
That’s why I don’t think you should ever put off doing what you believe in: a project, an idea, a good word, a phone call that will do some good, or a kiss, a hug... But you shouldn’t put off feeling angry, either, or a confrontation.
On the other hand, we should put off, or rather, just “do not” everything we don’t believe in… for me, for example, cleaning and tidying.
Believe in what you do right through to the end, but also in what you don’t do!
How would you define a“perfect” day?
A perfect day is one that doesn’t give you time to catch your breath, when you can’t get distracted even for a moment from the life you’re living (family, work, sport, a book…), when you get to the evening with a smile on your lips, the tiredness of an intense day, the serenity of a quiet evening and the impatience to start a new day.
How much has travelling with TELS influenced your personal and professional growth?
Languages have always been my passion. My TELS experience was the crowning of this passion. Travelling with TELS taught me that language and culture are two aspects that just can’t be separated, and that your knowledge of a language can only be complete once you get to know the culture behind it, and to do that you need to get to know the culture in its everyday form, in the little things and, above all, in contact with “the other”, so that it becomes familiar.
TELS also nurtured my love for travelling and discovery. I’ve always tried to study languages in the place where they’re spoken. This is central to the TELS method and the “English only” formula is what shaped my idea of language holidays and study vacations, and which I always maintain in my courses, obviously also applied to other languages.
English was then the subject of my university studies and the first language I taught. Now I mainly teach Italian, but TELS and its method are a part of my personal and professional background, a part of what I deliver to my own students. And so… Wha’TELS?