This fall, the Blinn College District will become just the second higher education institution in Texas to offer Czech language courses for college credit.
Blinn’s new college-credit Czech courses can satisfy the foreign language or elective requirements for many four-year colleges. The courses will be available face-to-face on the Blinn-Schulenburg Campus and available online. High school students will be able to take the courses through Blinn’s Dual Credit Program, which allows participants to earn credit toward a college degree while satisfying the requirements for high school graduation.
“These new credit-earning Czech language classes fulfill a unique need and help preserve this rich culture, which has had a lasting impact on Texas history,” said Dr. Pat Westergaard, dean of humanities. “As the only community college in the state that offers Czech language classes, our goal is to keep the language alive for future generations.”
Beginning Czech I will meet Monday through Friday and consists of both lecture and language lab classes. Students will be exposed to the fundamentals of the modern Czech language through listening, speaking, reading, and writing within a cultural framework. Upon completion of the course, they will have acquired the vocabulary and grammatical structures necessary to communicate and comprehend Czech at the beginner level. Classes also will address the difference between modern Czech and the four different dialects spoken throughout Texas.
Beginning Czech II will be offered in the spring for students to build upon this initial foundation. Non-credit versions of these classes will be available through Blinn’s technical and community education programs. Blinn has offered non-credit Czech language courses for more than 15 years.
The influence of Czech culture in Texas is evident through the architecture and festivals featured in cities like La Grange and West. From kolaches to polka, the traditions of Czech immigrants reflect a dedication to oral literature through stories, proverbs, and folk songs. Traveling from the regions of Bohemia, Moravia, and Austrian Silesia, settlers sought to improve their economic situation while remaining connected to their unique heritage.
Thadious Polasek, who will serve as instructor of the new courses and has been teaching Czech for 35 years, was raised with Czech (Lach dialect) as his first language. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Czech from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Library Science from the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg, and 18 postgraduate hours from Charles University in Prague. In addition to teaching Czech at Blinn, Polasek coordinates an annual summer study tour in the Czech Republic through Charles University.
“We anticipate a strong enrollment of students interested in learning Czech,” said Polasek. “They will be exposed to a dynamic foreign language while also learning about a heritage that has been impacting Texas history since the time of the Spanish Missions. Texas Czechs developed their own unique culture, songs, and legends which are reflected in communities throughout the state.”
To register or learn more about Blinn’s fall 2019 credit and non-credit Czech language offerings, visit www.blinn.edu/czech.