The northernmost island of Germany meets with serious heat. It is a pity, water in the sea off the coast of Sylt rarely reaches 20 degrees - once again you will not plunge. So I’m running to my room to cool off a bit. However, it is impossible to get through - the laughing guys and girls blocked the corridor. The guys arranged another flash mob: everyone who gets to the floor should lie down on the floor. The call is accepted, we begin the siesta right here.
Lying on the floor is conducive to conversation. The fair-haired Lena Schmidt says that over the past couple of weeks she has met many people close to her in spirit, with whom it is very fun, you can be open and be yourself. “Even here, I realized that we are not the last Russian Germans to speak the dialect,” she argues. “There really are a lot of people like us.” Lena came to the island from the village of Podsnosnovo of the German National Region of the Altai Territory. She is one of 30 participants in the summer school, in which young people aged 14-17 years old are mostly in German immersed in the historical and cultural context from morning to late evening. In between lessons, have fun as they can.
The two-week intensive at Sylt, or the so-called ethnocultural semester, is only the tip of the iceberg, which is called the program for supporting schools with an ethnocultural component (on it. - Minderheitenschule). A new project is just a well-forgotten old. This is a school where a national minority has the opportunity to study their literature, culture and history in their native language.
Until the 90s of the XX century, such a school was the norm, then everything went according to a well-known scenario. But the idea is so simple and ingenious that letting it sink into oblivion would be too reckless. Especially when there is something to be inspired by - thanks to the Germans of Denmark, Romania, Hungary and the German-speaking minority of Italy. Acquainted with their experience, the International Union of German Culture launched in 2018 a three-year test project. It is attended by 11 educational institutions, whose young representatives meet for the second year on 14 summer days in order to better understand themselves, exploring the history of their family and their people. Last year in Sochi, now on the picturesque Sylt. Olga Martens, First Deputy Chairman of the International Union of German Culture, talks about the goal of the project: “In the absence of national schools, we need to provide an ethnocultural component in at least some schools where there is a critical mass of Russian Germans with whom we would like to further develop relations.” In the fall, in the schedules of participating schools there will be optional classes in four subjects (history, art, literature and music of Russian Germans), and this is only the beginning. The project is part of the global concept of lifelong education (kindergarten - school - university), developed by the self-organization of Russian Germans.
The program on the island is really rich. And not only informational. For example, there is such a subject as the pedagogy of experience (German: Erlebnispädagogik). It resembles a cross between a scout campaign and participation in the famous Fort Boyard television game. Young people walk on a rope, overcome an obstacle course, shoot a bow. Trainer Maxim Rausch explains: “I will never say how to complete the task. The guys are developing an action strategy to complete the task together. This helps them to unite, to realize each their own role in teamwork, to expand personal boundaries. " This discipline was tested during the Sochi semester. Many students managed to master valuable practical skills, literally all of them emphasize the importance of this subject.
Will teachers in Russian schools be able to make learning equally exciting? Departing from the surface of standard formulations in depth and creating conditions in which the child is internally aware of his involvement in the history of the people is a delicate job. And it seems that it is within the walls of a general education institution that it is more difficult to do. Moreover, the Russian education system has already done everything and even more so that the child (not always, but very often) comes to school, as if at a polyclinic for an injection: "Let's do everything as quickly and painlessly as possible." There are other difficulties. For example, at the level of the customer of an educational service - a family. Not all German parents think ethnocentrically. Some believe that it is better to load a child, for example, in English instead of German.