Donostia-San Sebastián. During the emergency situation provoked by the Coronavirus in the world, the education system has made a great effort to adapt its classes to online platforms. The Etxepare Basque Institute did so with Basque language and culture courses that are managed around the world, as part of the Euskera Munduan program, as well as those taught as part of its university lectureships, as indicated in this week’s report.
Etxepare reminded us of some of the goals set for Euskara Munduan 2020, that is in charge of teaching Euskera at Basque clubs around the world, training them in Europe and America to provide online classes. In this way, they before the coronavirus crisis they begun two pilot online sessions at Basque clubs in Madrid and Washington, and an A2.1 level and another A1.1 level with the participation of eight of the 29 students respectively. The pandemic, however, has radically changed the panorama and forced the cancellation of presential classes in Basque clubs and at universities around the world, obliging that all adapt and choose an online method.
Currently, the majority of Basque clubs and universities continue to work on Basque instruction and diffusion using various platforms to do so. Several Basque clubs and universities in the US, Germany, Argentina, Chile, France and Canada are providing online instruction, and others like Tokyo, Barcelona, Mallorca and Mexico, among others, already have to option to teach online, but are now waiting on students to enroll.
The Director for the Promotion and Difussion of Euskera at the Etxepare Euskal Institute, Garbiñe Iztueta, is optimistic in light of this new phenomenon. “The COVID-19 crisis, has forced us to rethink the process of teaching and learning Basque and Basque culture, and in light of technological challenges, an enormous flexibility and creative capacity has been demonstrated, along with the realization that the relationship with and between students is a fundamental factor in the learning process. Therefore, it is time to identify and work on these valuable bases to include these relationships in another way through the screen.”
In fact, the teachers stationed abroad are working hard to teach online. On the one hand, they have been using new tools like Zoom, Skype or other online platforms available at their universities. In addition, there has been new material and methods developed to instruct, as well as to evaluate students’ work. For example, at the Lectureship at the University of Chicago the teacher has decided not to give an exam, but rather evaluate the students work on a blog where students will submit their audiovisual projects. At the Lectureship at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, games and apps have been created to learn Basque online.