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Ljouwert, June 2020

Dear reader,

The COVID-19 pandemic has probably affected your daily life. Hopefully you and your friends and family are healthy.

This Network of Schools bulletin will inform you about the latest news regarding minority language education. Next to the 'usual' news-items you will also find some information about how schools are dealing with home-schooling. This bulletin also addresses all Basque teachers to help a PhD Candidate with her linguistic research focused on primary education.

We would like to put you in the spotlight! If there is something you would like to communicate to the other Network of Schools members, please don't hesitate to email and we will make sure it will be added to the next bulletin. How are you dealing with the current situation? What are your goals and actions when all measurements are dissolved?
Enjoy reading this bulletin, and - most of all - stay safe!

Best wishes, on behalf of the Mercator European Research Centre,

Ramziè Krol-Hage

Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning / Fryske Akademy

Looking for Basque teachers for comparitative research between Frisian and Basque

As PhD Candidate at the Linguistics Department of Utrecht University, Zoha Bayat does research on Frisian linguistics rights with a focus on primary education. For her comparative research, she is looking for practical experiences and methods on Frisian and Basque teaching. She reached out to the Network of Schools for teachers/schools that might answer the following questions for her:

  • How do teachers evaluate the current students' attitudes toward learning Basque as compared to the last generation's attitude? In other words, are students enthusiastic about learning Basque or do they just treat it as a subject that they have to learn at school?
  • What is the teaching method they are using to teach Basque (specially for Primary education)? Has the method been updated over time or the old methods are still efficient?
  • Are some schools in BAC exempt from teaching Basque? If so, what is the condition that makes them exempt?
  • What organ/entity is responsible for laying down the a) Basque teaching methods b) educational policies and c)doing school inspections?
  • Do schools take an active part in proposing new teaching methods to the body who is responsible for language planning and policies?

For all the Basque language teachers that are reading this and might be able to help answer these questions: you can send your reaction to rhage@fryske-akademy.nl. Thank you in advance!

Exchange inspiration: Discovering cultural heritage

"diScover OUR Cultural hEritage" is a School Exchange Partnership (KA229) project supported by the European Commission under the current Erasmus+ programma. The participating schools are located in the Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain and Greece. The project partners decided to create an opportunity for students and teachers to experience, share and pass on cultural heritage to others. The main objectives of the project are to encourage students to discover and angage with Europe's cultural heritage first-hand, to reinforce a sense of belonging to Europe, to promote teamwork and intercultural learning, and to practice foreign language.

More information can be found on the project website discoverourculturalheritage.weebly.com

Homeschooling a language you don't know

One of the worries of non-Welsh speaking parents who had chosen Welsh-medium education for their children is that they do not know enough of the language now they have to homeschool, and that their children will fall behind with their Welsh language skills. Luckily, a lot of creative initiatives were developed that help parents to offer Welsh education to kids in a playful way (with music, sport, drawing tutorials and animation videos).

Read more

Bilingual education is brought back in Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara Unified school board voted unanimously to adopt the META plan (multilingual excellence transforming achievement), a plan to implement culturally and linguistically focused education models, and to convert McKinley Elementary School to a dual-language immersion program in fall 2021. "If we want students to survive they need to be global, so they need to be biliterate and bicultural," said boardmember Jacqueline Reid.

Read more

A crime to even talk about the value of mother-tongue education

Even though China introduced bilingual education policy in 2010 for schools in all Chinese minority areas, those schools are, in the case of Tibetan, increasingly staffed by non-Tibetan-speaking teachers and have a severe lack of Tibetan textbooks. Research of Human Rights Watch shows that practices introduced over the last decade by the regional government are leading more primary schools and even kindergartens to use Chinese as the teaching language for Tibetan students.

Read more

Message of peace and goodwill of 2020 from Welsh youth

Urdd Gobaith Cymru is a voluntary youth organisation in Wales that aims to provide opportunities through the medium of Welsh for children and young people in Wales to develop skills that enable them to make a positive contribution to the community. Each year, they publish a message of peace and goodwill. This year's message was published on the 18th of May and is available in 57 languages. The message can be found here!

Bringing educational practitioners together in online exchanges

The British Council organises free online webinars about how to deal with the challenges of remote learning for educators. The first webinar took place on the 20th of May, with a panel of teachers from the UK, Morocco, Croatia, Tunisia and Moldova and Ethiopia. A recording of this webinar can be found online here.

Stay safe and until next time!