DECEMBER 2015

Estonian language courses to continue for teachers from Ida-Viru County
Language and cultural immersion clubs offer opportunities for language practice
Eight further national minority Sunday schools granted support for teaching activities
December brings learning opportunities for national minority Sunday school teachers
Conference marks 95th anniversary of Russian Academic Society
Overview of procurements and competitions

Estonian language courses to continue for teachers from Ida-Viru County

The Integration and Migration Foundation has launched Estonian language courses at the B2 and C1 levels for a further 40 teachers from Ida-Viru County. Three new groups were opened for the teachers in November in Narva and Jõhvi.

According to Jana Tondi, the director of language and cultural immersion at the Integration Foundation, improving the Estonian language skills of teachers is one of the foundation’s priorities for the coming years. “We’ve started with teachers in Ida-Viru County, where the need for improvement is greatest,” she said. 

This August saw the start of Estonian language courses for 195 teachers from the county. In autumn the Integration Foundation launched an additional procurement competition to find a training company for a further three language groups in Narva and Jõhvi, serving a total of 40 people. The courses are designed for teachers whose names had been forwarded to the foundation by representatives of educational institutions from the region by the end of June but who did not make it into the first groups. “In November we were able to open up extra groups – one at the C1 level in Narva and one each at the B2 and C1 levels in Jõhvi,” Tondi explained.

The courses are being conducted by the language company Algus OÜ. Lessons are held twice a week in groups of up to 15 learners. An additional six-hour day of intensive studies is also held at least once a month, during which the participants meet with representatives of a variety of professions and walks of life. The aim of these meetings is to provide the learners with life-like situations in which they need to be able to cope using Estonian. The courses are set to continue until 15 March 2016.

The hope is that all of the teachers participating in the courses will take the language exam at the relevant level in spring 2016 and that at least 80% of those who complete the courses improve their language skills by at least one level. The Estonian exams are scheduled to take place on 20 & 21 February. Each teacher must register for the exam personally via the state portal www.eesti.ee or by submitting an application to the Innove Foundation. Registration for the February exams closes on 1 January. More information can be found online at http://www.innove.ee/et/eesti-keele-tasemeeksamid/registreerumine.

The Integration Foundation is organising Estonian language courses at the B2 and C1 levels for a total of 18 groups in Ida-Viru County in the 2015/2016 academic year. Of those groups, 13 are at the B2 level and five are at the C1 level. The language courses are being financed from the state budget via the Ministry of Education and Research.

For further information please contact Jana Tondi | Director of Language and Cultural Immersion, Integration Foundation | Telephone: +372 659 9069 | E-mail: [email protected]

Language and cultural immersion clubs offer opportunities for language practice

The Integration and Migration Foundation launched a procurement this autumn to find an organiser for language and cultural clubs for those who speak a language other than Estonian as their mother tongue. Of the four offers received, the one submitted by Kodanikukoolitus was declared successful and the non-profit organisation will now start organising up to 20 clubs for 320 people all over Estonia.

According to Jana Tondi, the director of language and cultural immersion at the Integration Foundation, it is important to offer opportunities for language practice in addition to traditional language courses in order to ensure even more effective studies of Estonian. “One way of doing that is by setting up language and cultural immersion clubs that give people the chance to speak Estonian, attend cultural events and talk about topical issues,” she said. “Compared to language lessons, the way those taking part learn and communicate is non-formal and the atmosphere is more open.”

20 clubs will be opened in January, February, April and May in Tallinn, Tartu, Sillamäe, Jõhvi, Kohtla-Järve, Ahtme, Narva and Pärnu. The first clubs will open their doors in January in Ida-Viru County and Tallinn.

The language and culture clubs are designed primarily for those who speak Estonian at the B2 level as a minimum and who wish to improve or maintain their conversational language skills. Membership of the club will first be offered to those who applied for Estonian courses at the B2 level via the Integration Foundation website in summer. The foundation will pass the list of potential members on to the organisers, who will then contact them personally. Membership of the clubs is entirely voluntary.

The language and cultural immersion clubs will be led by 10 instructors who are teachers of Estonian for adult learners or teachers of another foreign language by profession. Each club will be run by two native speakers of Estonian. The activities of the clubs will continue for at least six months, during which time a minimum of one weekly meeting and one monthly excursion will be organised for members. The excursions will showcase the country’s natural assets; see the participants visiting museums and libraries, as well as attending theatrical performances; and involve meetings with local authority representatives and entrepreneurs. The participants will also get to visit the Riigikogu and learn about the Estonian electoral system.

An information day for those running the clubs will be held in December, as will the first information event for future club members.

The activities of the ‘Linguistic and cultural immersion’ sub-programme of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project are financed from the resources of the European Social Fund.

For further information please contact Jana Tondi | Director of Language and Cultural Immersion, Integration Foundation | Telephone: +372 659 9069| E-mail: [email protected].

Eight further national minority Sunday schools granted support for teaching activities

The results of the second round of applications for the base financing of national minority Sunday schools were announced at the end of October, with support for activities being granted to a further eight schools to the total value of 33,004 euros.

“I’m really pleased we got to launch an additional round of applications this year and have been able to grant support to Sunday schools that didn’t manage to take part back in the first round in spring,” said the Integration Foundation’s director of partner relations Kristina Pirgop. “Another eight Sunday schools have now joined the list of 22 that already received funding. Among them is one school that opened its door at the start of the academic year in Pärnu which is being run by the Cultural Association of Ingrian Finns. The others were four Sunday schools in Tallinn and three in Narva.”

National minority Sunday schools are places at which children can explore the culture of their forefathers and learn their language. The lessons are diverse. Excursions and field trips to museums are also frequently organised during the academic year.

Sunday school lessons are open to youngsters aged 3-18 of whose parents at least one is a representative of the nationality in question. Starting from this academic year children of other nationalities are also being accepted into Sunday schools, but they may not account for more than 20% of the total number of students at the school. The contact details of Sunday schools are available online at http://www.meis.ee/rahvuskultuuriseltside-puhapaevakoolid.

“December means Christmas, and that means traditions with special and important meanings,” said Pirgop. “Special attention is paid to Christmas and New Year events at Sunday schools, too – the kids learn about the customs and rituals associated with them, national dishes that are made at this time of year, Christmas songs and poems and folk traditions.”

The Cultural Association of Ingrian Finns in Ida-Viru County organised a special event for its students on 29 November at which they performed a play about the Nativity, sang Finnish-language songs and met Santa Clause, who had flown in especially from Finland. Meanwhile, students from the Armenian Sunday school Maštots will be paying a visit this month to students from the Sunday school of the Association of Ukrainian Organisations in Estonia to find out more about the stories of St Nicholas, who is not very well known in Armenia.

The base financing of Sunday schools is funded from the state budget via the Ministry of Education and Research.

For further information please contact Kristina Pirgop | Director of Partnership Relations, Integration Foundation | Telephone: +372 659 9024 | E-mail: [email protected]

December brings learning opportunities for national minority Sunday school teachers

This December the Integration and Migration Foundation is organising two exciting and educational in-service training events for teachers from national minority Sunday schools.

The first event, which is entitled ‘Intercultural communication: Elements of drama in language learning’ was held on 5 & 6 December in Narva-Jõesuu. Sunday school teachers from all over Estonia were in attendance. The course was given by Evelin Müüripeal and Leili Sägi.

Group work focussed on developing the practical skills of the teachers. They were shown how drama can be used to spice up language lessons and create a stress-free environment for students. Namely, utilising elements of drama helps foster in people of any age the courage to perform and reduces the level of tension that comes with it. The trainers also showcased a variety of movement and creative exercises that can be used in lessons to develop cooperation skills. From the point of view of language learning, using drama helps to reinforce values and boost communication skills.

The final in-service training event for national minority Sunday school teachers this year will be held on 12 & 13 December in Tallinn, led by five instructors.

The training will be introduced by Irina Moissejenko, a lecturer on Russian didactics at Tallinn University. She will teach the participants ways of supporting language-learning in national minority Sunday schools and talk about how linguistic development takes place within children in a bilingual environment – for example, what methods you can use to develop correct pronunciation and the basis on which you can select suitable teaching materials.

Psychologist, doctor and therapist Natalja Šastina will then explain to the teachers how it is possible to take care of the person inside you and how to avoid stress and burnout.

The second day of the event will be opened by experienced trainers and multiple textbook and worksheet authors Õie Vahar and Helgi Org. Their presentation is entitled ‘Cooperation skills as a guarantee of success and enjoyment in school work’ and will focus on how to make parents active participants in the work of Sunday schools.

In order for the learning process to be more interesting and diverse, almost all schools organise educational excursions for their students. Tallinn University lecturer Natalia Tšuikina will talk about how you can teach a language during an excursion and the kinds of exercises that most effectively support the acquisition of knowledge.

In-service training for national minority Sunday schools is financed from the state budget via the Ministry of Education and Research.

For further information please contact Kristina Pirgop | Director of Partnership Relations, Integration Foundation | Telephone: +372 659 9024 | E-mail: [email protected].

Conference marks 95th anniversary of Russian Academic Society

In honour of the 95th anniversary of the Russian Academic Society, a conference entitled ‘The Russian intelligentsia: Benefitting Estonia for 95 years’ is to be held at the Estonian National Library on 15 December.

The conference is designed to inform the public of the activities of the Russian-language literati and of their contribution to Estonian society. Ideas will also be exchanged on the current state of socioeconomic development in Estonia and on indicators in this field. The subtheme of the conference has been given the title ‘Analysis and prospects of the development of the Estonian economy and Estonian society’.

Members of the Russian Academic Society will be speaking at the conference. Researchers, teachers, lecturers and representatives of public, private and third-sector organisations are invited to attend the event, which will accommodate an audience of up to 120. Registration is on an invitation basis. If you have not received an invitation but are interested in attending, e-mail Angela Melikhova at [email protected] by 12 December 2015.

Founded in 1920, the Russian Academic Society is one of the oldest civic associations in Estonia. Its activities were revived in the early 1990s. Today it has more than 120 members of all ages and representing a wide range of fields. It has three regional departments – one in Tartu, one in Kohtla-Järve and one in Pärnu – which bring together academics and doctors, doctoral candidates and masters of science. More information about the society’s activities can be found online at http://www.rao.ee.

The Integration and Migration Foundation has contributed to the organisation of the conference.

For further information please contact Kristina Pirgop | Director of Partnership Relations, Integration Foundation | Telephone: +372 659 9024 | E-mail: [email protected].
Further details are also available from Angela Melikhova, PhD | Research Secretary, Russian Academic Society | E-mail: [email protected].

Overview of procurements and competitions

The following is an overview (with brief descriptions) of the procurements and competitions being organised by the Integration and Migration Foundation in December.

  • 30 November saw the launch of a social campaign entitled ‘Valuing public- and private-sector organisations with linguistically diverse staff and informing people with mother tongues other than Estonian of career opportunities within the public sector’. The procurement is being implemented as part of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project of the European Social Fund. The deadline for submission of tenders is 10:00 on 15 January 2016.

More information and a link to the e-procurement registry can be found online at http://www.meis.ee/kaimasolevad-konkursid?project_id=650.

  • 2 December saw the launch of a project competition entitled ‘Promotion of a unified field of information through cultural and sporting activities’. Applications can be submitted in two categories – sporting events supporting a unified cultural space and integration; and cultural events supporting a unified cultural space and integration. The deadline for submission of applications is 10:00 on 12 January 2016. The competition is being financed by the Ministry of Culture.

Competition information and documentation can be found online at http://www.meis.ee/kaimasolevad-konkursid?project_id=651.

  • 8 December saw the launch of a procurement entitled ‘Training on the Estonian Constitution and Citizenship Act for new immigrants and permanent residents with limited integration’. Tenders for the procurement – which is being organised as part of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project financed from the European Social Fund – are awaited for the organisation of the training in 2016 and 2017. The deadline for submission of tenders is 11:00 on 7 January 2016.

More information and a link to the e-procurement registry can be found online at http://www.meis.ee/kaimasolevad-konkursid?project_id=652.

  • December will also see the launch of a project competition for foreign Estonian cultural associations. The competition will support the organisation of foreign Estonian cultural projects and festivals; contact between cultural collectives, creative people and foreign Estonian communities; and the professional guidance of foreign Estonian cultural collectives with the aim of promoting their participation in major Estonian cultural events. The competition is being financed by the Ministry of Culture.

Information about when the competition will be launched will be available shortly on the website of the Integration Foundation under http://www.meis.ee/konkursid.

  • December will also see the launch of a project competition for national minority cultural associations. The competition is designed to contribute to the preservation and showcasing of national minority language and culture in Estonia, supporting cultural association events, festivals, international cooperation, the generation of a shared information space and more.

Information about when the competition will be launched will be available shortly on the website of the Integration Foundation under http://www.meis.ee/konkursid.

  • December will also see the launch of a procurement competition entitled ‘Development of the communication cooperation network of the integration field and distribution of news’. The competition is designed to create, with the help of media partners, a unified field of information which brings together issues related to the field of integration and which reflects key groupings of topics in Estonian, Russian and English. The competition is being financed by the Ministry of Culture.

Information about when the competition will be launched will be available shortly on the website of the Integration Foundation under http://www.meis.ee/konkursid.

                                                                                Merry Christmas and a happy new year to everyone! 
                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                     The Integration Foundation team