Boise, Idaho. Every year Basque teachers from all over the United States gather to participate in a workshop. Last year this workshop took place in Boise, and it was on “Teaching while playing”. The year before it was celebrated in Salt Lake City, where teachers learned about “What to teach and how to teach it”. This year was Boise’s turn, and it was the first time BSU students attended the workshop.
Teachers and students met at 9 in the morning at the Basque Museum, where they enjoyed a nice breakfast together before the workshop. Then it was time for introductions and updates. Izaskun talked about ideas to celebrate Basque Language Day on December 3rd, and passed out backpacks and water bottles for the teachers to take back to their respective Basque Centers and sell them. The money raised will then be used to send Basque language students to a ‘Barnetegi’ (boarding school to study Basque) in the Basque Country.
Throughout the day, Izaskun talked about typical grammar mistakes, provided new material (Ulibarri’s 3rd grade book and a booklet with Basque songs), and gave each teacher a DVD with last year’s Basque grammar workshop, recorded and compiled by Chris Murua, a Basque language student. Miami’s teacher, Aitzol Azurtza, distributed copies of Christmas songs he wrote for the other teachers to practice with their students. After a break for lunch at Leku-Ona, everybody came back to class, where they continued learning through practical exercises and games.
Learning continued after 8 pm, once the workshop was over, first at Gernika and then again at Leku-Ona, in true Basque Country style. Students and teachers gathered around the table and spent a couple of hours signing typical Basque songs, from Benito Lertxundi’s Bizkaia Maite to Hertzainak’s Aitormena or Exkixu’s version of Loretxoa.