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Professoressa Raffaella Spilotro is an Italian language teacher at Glenbard North High School, in Carol Stream, IL.


She was raised in a small province of Bari, Italy where she attended elementary school. Her family then moved to Chicago, USA where she attended middle and high school and learned English as a second language thus making her “madre lingua” Italian.

Raffaella went on to obtain a Bachelors Degree in English and Italian from the School of Education at DePaul University. She also holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University.


She has been teaching Italian for over 15 years and has been responsible for an Italian Foreign Exchange program with the Istituto Statale Gobetti-Volta in Florence, Italy.

Raffaella is actively involved with the Italian-American community in Chicago. She works closely with the Education office at the Italian Consulate General, is a former board member of the Osservatorio della Lingua Italiana and the Italian-American Chamber of Commerce. Raffaella is a member of AATI Midwest and frequently attends ACTFL conferences.


Throughout her teaching career she has always searched for innovative materials to make classroom learning authentic, interactive, and fun.  This is what led her to create ItalianbySpilotro!

Living out the Dream

Raffaella’s passion and love for all things Italian inspired her to take a sabbatical year during 2012 - 2013 to live in Italy with her husband Anthony Guida and turn her vision of creating Italian Culture and Vocabulary Building Videos into a reality.

During the sabbatical year, she worked closely with teachers and students of the Istituto Statale Gobetti-Volta in Florence, Italy to develop the educational videos. The primary objective was to create vocabulary building videos and lessons that aid in the acceleration and acquisition of Italian language learning for middle and high school students.   The educational videos, featuring native Italians, provide students the much-needed authentic visual and audio stimulant in order to enhance communication skills that improve students’ ability to learn and retain a foreign language.

Don’t just learn Italian. Live Italian.

While living and traveling throughout Italy during her sabbatical year, she thought deeply about what Italy meant to her. The beautiful varied landscape, the exquisite cuisine, the sweet sound of the musical language. There are so many cultural aspects such as art, literature, music, theater, and fashion that are so unique, it is easy to fall in love with this historical country. She has always wanted her students to understand and experience this passion and love - despite the limitations of a classroom. 

Raffaella challenges her students to ‘Live Italian’ by incorporating 15 specific words or phrase in their everyday lives, at all times. Saying ‘grazie’ instead of ‘thank you’, ‘buon appetito’ before each meal, ‘pronto’ when they answer their phone. Additionally, other ways they can ‘Live Italian’ is to  ‘dress’ Italian, ‘eat’ Italian, ‘carry themselves’ as Italians. ItalianbySpilotro videos provide them with a hint of what this means as they see native Italian teenagers, like themselves, speaking and interacting with each other.


ItalianbySpilotro could not have been realized without the support and help from these organizations and people!


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