On Thursday, 7 May 2015, we participated in the celebration of the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Day. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. everyone interested could visit our educational and informative stand in the entrance hall of the Faculty. At the stand we displayed two posters – a poster on bilingualism made by Siniša Smiljanić and Dr Tihana Kraš, and a poster on the Chakavian Ekavian Dialect made by Prof. Silvana Vranić – as well as materials on the Vlashki and Zheyanski language. From 11.15 a.m. to 12 p.m. Branch Director Dr Tihana Kraš, its members Ana Bratulić and Siniša Smiljanić, and volunteers Monika Majstorović and Nikolina Pajalić gave a presentation on our Tandem Language and language teaching programmes. After the lecture, from 12 to 12.45 p.m., our member Dr Zvjezdana Vrzić and her collaborator on the "Preservation of the Vlashki and Zheyanski Language" project Adrijana Gabris gave a brief course in the Zheyanski language.
From Tuesday, 16 December 2014, additional English language classes have also been organised for children from the Ivana Brlić Mažuranić Children's Home at its facility in Rijeka, as one of our four (for the time being) programmes of language classes. Our members Diana Predrag, a certified English language teacher, and Antonela Marjanušić, a second-year teacher-training M.A. student of English and Croatian language and literature from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka, will teach once a week, on an individual basis, conducting classes to seven children between the ages of two and four.
On Saturday, 22 November 2014, at the meeting of the Croatian Association of Teachers of English (HUPE) Rijeka Branch, held at Dom Mladih Rijeka, our member Dr Nadja Mifka-Profozić gave a talk entitled "The role of tasks in language development: A cognitive perspective". In the talk, she presented the methodological approach of task-based learning in which language is used to carry out meaningful tasks related to individuals' real-life needs. As emphasised by Dr Mifka-Profozić, such an approach supports language learning processes and enhances the development of both linguistic and communicative competence. Research results related to the role of cognitive factors in language learning, and pointing to the advantages of task-based language learning and teaching, were also presented.
On Thursday, 13 November 2014, we launched an informal programme of foreign language learning in pairs called language tandem. With the aim of mutual learning and teaching of foreign languages, around twenty pairs will meet once a week at the appointed time under the supervision of the programme coordinators, Ana Bratulić and Siniša Smiljanić, in the restaurant Kampus on Trsat. Some couples will also meet independently of these meetings. The programme includes nine language combinations (Croatian and Polish, Croatian and English, Croatian and Italian, Croatian and German, Croatian and French, Croatian and Spanish, English and Italian, English and German, Italian and German).
On Friday, 7 November 2014, we launched the additional English and Croatian language classes programme for children from the Tić Children's Home in Rijeka. The programme consists of individualised weekly classes for elementary school children. Classes are conducted by volunteers Ivana Cindrić and Zdravka Bijelić, second-year teacher-training M.A. students of English and Croatian language and literature from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka.
On Friday, 24 October 2014, an inter-county, interdisciplinary expert panel discussion, gathering psychologists, pedagogues and humanities teachers from schools in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and Istria County where Italian is used as the language of schooling, was held at Gelsi Elementary School Rijeka. On that occasion our member Dr Gianna Mazzieri-Sanković gave a lecture entitled "Famiglia e scuola: la comunicazione oggi" ("Family and school: communication today"). The topic of the lecture was the importance of communication in the mother tongue and dialects among Italian national minority members in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and Istria County, as well as the importance of preserving these dialects, given social dynamics and language contacts in the area. Dr Mazzieri-Sanković stressed that providing accurate information about bilingualism and linking school and community with researchers dealing with bilingualism are important for preserving minority languages and cultures.
On Wednesday, 22 October 2014, we launched the additional English and Croatian language classes programme for children from the Ivana BrlićMažuranić Children's Home at its main facility in Lovran. The programme targets elementary school children who are given instruction by our volunteers once a week on an individual basis, thus adapting to the specific needs of every child. Classes are given by certified English (and Croatian) language teachers Marina Mrazovac and MargitaKrulić, as well as Andrej Bobanović, Petra Gašparić, Marko Modrić and NikolinaPajalić, who are second-year teacher-training M.A. students of English (and Croatian) language and literature from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka.
On Friday, 10 October 2014, an expert panel on the importance of preserving the Grobnik idiom, protected as an intangible cultural heritage of Croatia, was organised by the Grobnik Region Čakavian Assembly Chair. Bilingualism Matters@Rijeka member Dr Sanja Zubčić participated in the panel, talking to the interested members of the local community about the importance of protecting the Grobnik idiom and about the ways in which this can be done. She also addressed the idiom's current status, particularly in the contexts of its use in new media and on social networks, stressing the importance of vertical bilingualism – i.e. using both the dialect and the standard variety of one's mother tongue.
On Monday, 29 September 2014, we launched the additional English language classes programme for Roma children at Rijeka's Škurinje Elementary School. Classes for children from elementary school Grades 1-4 are given by certified English language teacher Monika Majstorović. Children participating in the programme attend two 45-minute classes a week. This programme is intended to continue throughout the school year.
The official branch opening and launch event was held on Friday, 6 June 2014, at 2 p.m. at Rijeka City Hall. Following the welcome speeches, given by Dr Predrag Šustar, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Rijeka, Prof. Nevenka Ožanić, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Investments and Development of the University of Rijeka, Mrs Verena Lelas Turak, Acting Head of the Rijeka City Office, Erik Fabijanić, President of the Primorsko-Goranska County Assembly, and Staša Skenžić, Head of the International Office in the Section for Science and Technology of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, the event was addressed by Prof. Antonella Sorace from the University of Edinburgh, founder and director of Bilingualism Matters, who gave a talk entitled “Child bilingualism: facts, benefits and challenges”. Dr Tihana Kraš, our branch director, presented the scope, goals, members and planned activities of our branch. The event also included performances by the Dolac Primary School Choir, Čakavian poet Rajka Jurdana Šepić, and the TRY Theatre drama school for children and youth.