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ERIC Number: EJ824780
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1056-4934
Regional Identity and Schools in Estonia: Creating a "We" Feeling?
Brown, Kara
European Education, v40 n3 p8-26 Fall 2008
Activists who are trying to preserve and revitalize the use of Voro, a regional language of southeastern Estonia spoken by only about 50,000 people, feel that the tongue is in jeopardy and that multidimensional efforts are required to secure its future. A leading Estonian folklorist and activist advised Voro-language instructors to cultivate a sense of belonging and a shared identity among students by teaching traditional culture: "Traditional culture should be taught in schools so that the children are immediately thinking of their grandparents, that some sort of "we" feeling arises in the children. This challenge is daunting in any setting, but it is particularly complicated in Estonia since the Estonian language, which is so central to national identity, has fewer than a million native speakers and is perceived to be endangered. Because Voro is spoken by ethnic Estonians and yet is claimed to be a distinct language, it can be perceived as a threat to Estonian's long-term viability. For this reason, regional-language activists in contemporary Estonia walk a fine line in their attempts to foster a "we" identity that promotes regional distinctiveness without being perceived as a threat to national solidarity. This article has a two-fold focus: the Voro Institute's normative, and at times descriptive, attempts to produce a regional identity through educational texts and the regional language teachers' reaction to and transformation of these proposed "we" identities in the classroom based on regional consciousness. The author discusses her research methods, presents a contextual overview of the Voro language, considers the role of the Voro language and culture in regional identity construction from the varying perspectives of the Voro Institute and teachers, and concludes with a discussion of the main findings of the research. (Contains 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Estonia