“We’ve looked back over our achievements and tried to define challenges for the future”
Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.
"There´ s room for improvement, but a lot of good work has been done and it shows." Maddalen Subijana, Basque language assistant at Freie Universität in Berlin, assessed positively the first meeting of Basque teachers in Germany. The first meeting of Basque lecturers and language assistants from the Etxepare Basque Institute and the Basque cultural centres of Germany (‘I. Treffen der Baskisch-Lektor:innen und Lehrer:innen im deutschsprachigen Raum’) was held in Berlin. The event brought included Basque teachers working in the German-speaking context. Together, they reflected on the progress achieved so far in the field of teaching and tried to define future challenges and goals.
The Etxepare Basque Institute sponsors four university chair programmes in Germany (Universität Konstanz, Universität Leipzig, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main and Freie Universität Berlin). It was the teachers from these universities that took part in the meeting.
Various speakers and experts with extensive experience in teaching Basque shared their experiences at a round table held at Freie Universität Berlin. The topic of discussion was ´Minority languages and cultures at German universities´. Participants provided an overview of the lectureship programme. "We reviewed the progress made so far and tried to define the challenges for the future," described Subijana. Catalan and Galician teachers also joined in the dialogues.
Among the conclusions, the most noteworthy was the need to create teaching materials. The participants recognised the need for tools to reinforce their work and make it flow more smoothly. They decided to create a kind of ´starter kit´ for beginner readers. “This would include material that helps facilitate the transmission of information between readers,” explained Subijana. “There is often a lack of continuity among teachers, something they’re trying to avoid. the kit will be material that explains how to set the dynamics of the work in motion.”
The participants also concluded that the development of working material for the first weeks is important, in this way deepening the support in the initial period.
Petra Elser, Lourdes Izagirre, Unai Lauzirika and Jonan Lekue participated in the round table discussion titled ´The teaching of Basque in the German-speaking context´ at the Mehringhoff Theatre. All of them have worked at Basque lectureships and Basque schools. Outside the university setting one can also study Basque in Germany at the Berlin Euskal Etxea Basque center or at the Volkshochschule.
They shared their experiences in this work. The German translator Petra Elser, who learned Basque as an adult, also brought the student perspective to the table.
Subijana was satisfied with the reflections and conclusions from this first meeting. "I think it’s important to have regular meetings. We all have similar challenges, and I think that if we get to know each other, if we forge these relationships, we’ll be able to face them more easily, more as a group," she concluded.