International Academic Cooperation: trip of the Department of Czech Language and Literature to Regensburg

The foreign trip of the Department of Czech Language and Literature of the Faculty of Education of Masaryk University took place from 13 to 17 May 2024. The main aim was to support cooperation between universities and to innovate teaching practices aimed at educating pupils with different mother tongues. During the visit to the Centre for Czech Studies Bohemicum at the University of Regensburg, the issue of Czech language teaching and transcultural relations was addressed.

4 Jun 2024 David Kroča Hana Svobodová

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Centre for Czech Studies Bohemicum

Bohemicum is a centre for Czech studies at the University of Regensburg, focusing on the teaching of Czech language, culture and areal competence. Research focuses on linguistics, literary studies and cultural studies. Since 2023, it has also coordinated the study of teaching Czech as a foreign language (a complementary field of study for teachers in the so-called realms and grammar schools) and offers the only courses in Bavaria on the didactics of Czech. In Bavaria, Czech is taught in various types of schools.

The trip took place at the University of Regensburg, specifically at the Centre for Czech Studies Bohemicum. This was a continuation of previous collaborations on the topic of Moravian realities (e.g. the Bohemistics 2021 conference), a joint trip of academics with students and teachers from practice to support the education of individuals with a different mother tongue in 2022 (Improving and Innovating the Preparation of Future Teachers at MUNI) and individual Erasmus+.

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We discussed in depth the issue of teaching Czech as a target language, working with learners of different language levels, including the specifics of education of bilingual individuals. We focused in detail on the topic of transcultural relations. The main attention was paid to the issue of realities in teaching. Thanks to the expertise of our working team consisting of members of the CJL (Assoc. David Kroča, dr. Marek Lollok, doc. Milena Šubrtová, doc. Jiří Poláček, doc. Ondřej Sládek, dr. Hana Svobodová) and the members of Bohemica (prof. Marek Nekula, dr. Kateřina Šichová and the current KČJL PhD student Tereza Švandová) it was possible to discuss in more detail the implementation of language teaching with a cultural overlap.

The general outcome of the internship was primarily to support the education and integration of individuals with a different mother tongue into society. The trip led to the mutual sharing of experiences in teaching non-native speakers and exchange of views between participants from both universities. The intensive personal cooperation (e.g., hospitalization in Dr. Šichová's classroom; subsequent reflection; comparison of methods used in teaching Czech as a target and inherited language) will support the improvement of the quality of education of learners at both universities. The expert workshops and accompanying presentations were also the basis for the development of study guides focused on the issue of Moravian realities and the use of artistic literature in building multicultural awareness. During the joint seminars, worksheets and a canon of Moravian realia were finalised, which will be presented in a forthcoming collective monograph on the teaching of Czech realia (Nekula/Šichová/Lollok: Issues of differentiation of Czech, Moravian and Silesian realia in the field of Czech as the target language; expected to be published by Akropolis).

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Another publication output will be a theoretical-methodological study that will contribute to the discussion of the issue of realia from a literary-comparative point of view. It will be offered for publication in a relevant professional journal.

The trip also included a professional excursion to Nuremberg, e.g. a visit to Albrecht Dürer Haus, Lorenz Kirche, Kaiserburg, etc. These realities are part of the Czech-German cultural space and their visit was relevant for our stay. The lecture "Ihr seid doch auch Juden." Scott Spector from the University of Michigan expanded awareness of Franz Kafka's connection to other Jewish multilingual writers within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was an important contribution to understanding multiculturalism.

The mutual communication and joint activities will be followed by a research stay of Prof. Marek Nekula at the Department of Czech Language and Literature in the autumn semester 2024/25, during which expert lectures and mutual discussions will take place.

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