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MASU opens the second Federal Innovation Platform to revitalize the Sami language

  • 13.04.2023
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MASU opens the second Federal Innovation Platform to revitalize the Sami language

MASU Linguistics Institute opens Support Centre for the Languages of the Russia's Indigenous Peoples (the Sami language). This is the second Federal Innovation Platform (FIP) opened at Murmansk Arctic State University this year.

Federal Innovation Platforms (FIP) are expert networks that develop educational methods and programs, apply existing ones to solve challenging tasks, and implement new approaches in education management. The status of FIP is assigned to organizations that are engaged in the modernization and development of the educational system, taking into account the main directions of Russia's socio-economic development.

The Institute's FIP will focus its work on revitalization of the Sami language through training specialists how to teach and transmit the language. For this purpose, MASU lecturers apply traditional methods of teaching languages, as well as develop new ones in forms of language immersion and Master-Student techniques. As part of the FIP's work, students, studying at Russia's only Master's degree program on teaching the Sami language, have an opportunity to put their original ideas to the test.

'All the Master students at this program are representatives of the Sami people. Each of them has different professional and academic interests, among which are revitalization of Skolt Sami with only one native speaker, using didactic tools for mobile apps, teaching preschoolers and even translating the Bible,' comments Viktoria Bakula, Head of the FIP and Professor of Philology, Media and Communications Department. 'The variety of focus areas will, firstly, allow us to work on materials and guidelines from different perspectives, and, secondly, create an expert community able to share their knowledge of languages and protect it. As the experience of the Nenets language's revitalization shows, a lot is possible with a team of like-minded people.'

According to the Head of FIP, the platform presents a unique opportunity for strong and mutually beneficial cooperation with representatives of the indigenous community, as they gain knowledge about the possibilities of preserving and learning the language and its dialects, and are involved in the organization of students' practice. This approach differs from the traditional way of studying Sami culture only in a theoretical context that brings no significant effects for the community itself.

'Apart from the well-known researchers from leading academic institutions like the Institute of the Peoples of the North and Karelia Research Centre (Russian Academy of Science), we cooperate with various organizations and, most importantly, with Sami people,' adds Viktoria. 'We have received numerous recommendations and well wishes at the beginning of our work. Now we know that our hard work is appreciated.'

In addition to the Master's degree program and the study of didactic and ethnolinguistic aspects of teaching Sami, the FIP also plans to work on a textbook supported by the Federal Institute of Native Languages of the Peoples of the Russian Federation, as well as to organize advanced training courses regarding Sami languages, culture, and literature for employees of cultural institutions in the region.

Besides, according to Oksana Savateeva, Director of MASU Linguistics Institute, the new FIP creates the opportunity for the native speakers to teach Sami language after completing an advanced training course, as well as to open a Bachelor's degree program for Sami language teachers, a one-of-a-kind program in Russia.

The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation selects applications for granting the status of FIP each year since 2019. MASU was awarded the status for the first time following the results of the 2022 competition.

Earlier we announced that MASU Psychological and Pedagogical Institute became the base for the Federal Innovation Platform — Innovative Educational Platform 'Psychological and Pedagogical Convergentor'.

For reference:
The Sami are one of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation, living mainly in Murmansk region. They also live in Finland, Norway, and Sweden. There are less than 2 000 Sami living in Russia.

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