4 Days in the Heart of the Kashubian Culture

After spending ten years in the United Kingdom where I have been a teacher of French and Spanish in secondary schools, I came back in the Basque Country since September 2017.

In the United Kingdom, over the last ten years, I have endorsed many different roles and my latest roles allowed me to train and support new teachers. I have also put into place many international projects such as Comenius and Erasmus Plus. All these projects made me wonder about my identity and culture. Hence, I decided to return to the Basque Country as an English teacher.

I am now teaching English in a full immersive Basque school – Xalbyador Kolegioa in KanboI wanted to fathom my understanding of my language and identity and decided to carry on a research work on minority languages with the University of Bordeaux.

After some reading, I took a fond interest in the Kashubian and decided to contact Naja Szkòła in order to visit the school, the pupils and the teachers. My idea was to be able to observe classes in order to compare the Basque and the Kashubian.

After spending four days, in the heart of the Kashubian culture thanks to Artur, Ana, Kate, the pupils and the many other teachers, I can happily say that I am fascinated by such an authentic and powerful culture. At school, pupils are taught both in Polish and Kashubian and are showing a fantastic level of understanding and using the Kashubian language. Following the pupils in language classes once again, proved me that a multilingual learning environment from a young age is more than beneficial not only in learning other languages but also in building skills to be a world citizen.

Between them, during their interpersonal communication, the children are using Kashubian words and sentences. They feel well at ease at changing and swapping between Polish and Kashubian with no problem, they have developed a great confidence in both languages and this also translate in English and German they are learning at school.

The school is offering fantastic modern facilities which clearly opens the children on the world and give them amazing tools (they master) in order to build their future in a changing world. The school offers a quiet, peaceful and colourful environment to the children to allow them to fully express their Kashubian identity while supporting their daily learning.

Outside school, I have met a thriving community, very active in order to develop and support all generations to revitalise Kashubian. In the Basque Country, during our process of revitalisation of the language, we have found three factors very useful to support this process: 1. Family, 2. School and 3. Social environment. I have the strong feeling that Kashubian is on its way to a very successful and powerful revitalisation with the help of many different actors.

I would like to return to visit Naja Szkòła in a year time in order to follow and support the continuous work made in order to develop the Kashubian culture. It has been an honour and a real pleasure to meet the pupils, the teachers and of course the pedagogical team with Ana and Kate and Artur – a strong leader in the Kashubian community.

About Author

S. Cihigoyenetche

Przez ostatnie 10 lat uczyła języka francuskiego i hiszpańskiego w Zjednoczonym Królestwie. Od 2017 roku uczy angielskiego w baskijskiej szkole. By jeszcze bardziej zanurzyć się w swoim języku i kulturze, rozpoczęła studia nad językami mniejszościowymi na Uniwersytecie Bordeaux. W kwietniu 2018 roku przebywała na tygodniowym stażu w Naja Szkòła.

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