Krause brings language learning to life

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Italian language teacher Lauren Krause loves to bring food and cultural items into the classroom to make the learning experience more vivid for her students.

“Most recently, students tried 100% extra virgin authentic olive oil, which many had never tried in their lives,” says Krause, a 7th and 8th grade Italian teacher at Indian Trail Junior High School in Addison, Illinois. “It was so fun seeing their reactions.”

Krause has taught for 13 years at Indian Trail, where she currently teaches six sections of Italian to around 100 students each day. Her Italian level 1 course takes place over two years, which means she gets to form a special bond with her students over time, she says.

The key to the students’ success is being immersed in the Italian language and culture on a daily basis, says Krause, who founded the Italian Club at Indian Trail. She also believes in having a student-centered, collaborative classroom.

“I want to know what students want to learn, and I often embrace their curiosity. I love to have my students lead the classroom when opportunities arise,” she says. “I connect with my students by getting to know their interests and building upon that. Positive teacher and student relationships are the way to student progress and success.”

The best part of the job is seeing her students’ progression as they learn more every day, Krause says. “I love seeing those ‘aha’ moments when students are able to formulate the language in speaking, reading, writing, and listening.”

As for the most challenging aspect of her work, “There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done,” she says.

Krause’s great-grandparents immigrated to the United States in the 1920s from Italy’s Abruzzo and Sicilia regions. Krause was born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and started learning Italian as a freshman in high school.

She studied Italian as a minor at Illinois State University, and spent a summer studying the language at the Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici in Firenze. She also holds a master’s degree in teaching and learning from Roosevelt University.

She’s also worked as a substitute teacher at Arlington Heights School District 25, taught language arts at Riverside School District 96, and was a summer school teacher for Northwestern University’s gifted program through the university’s Center for Talent Development.

This summer, Krause hopes to travel to Italy for the third time with her son, Giulian. “We have gone the last two summers and it is an amazing experience to be immersed in the Italian language and culture,” she says. “It feels like home when we are there.”

She loves to spend time with family and friends, and has a special bond with her intelligent and strong-willed “nonna,” who provides her with love, support and guidance, she says.

Her interests include running — she’s ran four Chicago marathons — ice skating, lifting weights, taking hot yoga classes, cooking, reading, trying new restaurants and spending time outdoors.


About Elena Ferrarin

Elena Ferrarin is a native of Rome who has worked as a journalist in the United States since 2002. She has been a correspondent for Fra Noi for more than a decade. She previously worked as a reporter for The Daily Herald in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, The Regional News in Palos Heights and as a reporter/assistant editor for Reflejos, a Spanish-English newspaper in Arlington Heights. She has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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