Romance Languages Welcomes New Italian Instructor

Daniela Viale, adjunct instructor of romance languages and literatures, is fluent in four languages.
Posted 10/02/07
Daniela Viale has joined the Romance Languages and Literatures Department as an adjunct instructor.

She is teaching elementary and intermediate Italian this semester.

Viale, who is fluent in Italian, French, English and Spanish, also has basic knowledge of German and Latin. She comes to Wesleyan from the University of Pennsylvania, where she taught elementary and intermediate Italian and French for eight years.

An Italian native, Viale completed her master of liberal arts in 2007 from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation was titled “The Experience of the Second World War and the Question of Italian Identity: A Study of Fenoglio, Levi and Revelli.” She received her bachelor and master degrees in French and English literatures and languages from the University of Torino, Italy, where she also studied applied linguistics.

“After teaching and having learned immensely from my mentors, my colleagues and my students, I am thrilled to be able to put all I learned at the service of the Wesleyan community,” Viale says. “Teaching language and the cultural nuances that come with it is a great experience.”

In addition to teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, Viale served as the language coordinator of intermediate Italian; the interim director of the Italian Language Program; and the liaison between the Italian section of the Department of Romance Languages and the Casa Italiana organization, which involved choosing movie screenings, culinary and music events celebrating Italy and encouraging students’ interest in Italian culture. She also is a freelance interpreter, translator and tutor, and a member of the American Association of Teachers of Italian.

For her efforts, Viale received the Excellence in Teaching for Outstanding Performance and Lasting Contribution as a Lecturer in April 2007 from the University of Pennsylvania Department of Romance Languages.

Viale blends several different approaches into her teaching style.

“I try not to be enslaved by theories and methodologies, but I try to draw useful lessons from all of them. I incorporate a variety of styles and activities in my teaching curriculum, based on what I see works best with the students,” she says. “I strive to communicate enthusiasm and passion to them. My goal at Wesleyan is to make the learning of Italian a fulfilling, meaningful experience for Wesleyan students.”

Viale’s main interests are in learning and teaching languages, but she also has an interest in how World War II influenced the Italian writers. She’s recently rediscovered “the pleasure” of studying history, specifically anti-fascism, partisan resistance, genocide studies and the Holocaust.

One of her up-and-coming projects is to translate a book by an Italian anti-fascist who tells the story of a priest who saved hundreds of Jews in the mountains surrounding her hometown in Italy.

Viale resides in New Haven, Conn. with her boyfriend, Daniel. She enjoys cooking, singing, reading, soccer and trekking in the mountains – an activity which she has not practiced as much since moving to the United States.

“History, languages and mountains are three of my great passions. I wish Connecticut had more mountains like the Alps in Italy where I do trekking, but I guess one cannot have it all,” she says.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor