START A HUNGARIAN LANGUAGE PROGRAM

The Kossuth Foundation’s methodology for organizing a language program is presented in some detail below.  However, more information is available.  Contact us.

  • Why Hungarian language education is important – The Kossuth Foundation is committed to fostering Hungarian language instruction as a way to promote cultural exchange with the people of Hungary and to connect others with its rich and diverse history.  We are striving not only to offer language classes to those seeking to reconnect with their ancestral home, but to those students interested in learning more about this unique language and its rich cultural heritage.  Whether students are Hungarian born immigrants wishing to reconnect with their native language or Hungarian enthusiasts with little or no connection, Hungarian language instruction is a useful tool for all.
  • How to organize a class

    • Finding students – Finding enough students to justify a new class requires connecting with the Hungarian community in your area and encouraging the community to promote awareness of the program among friends and family.  Many companies or professional organizations have ties to Hungary and offer exchange programs or employee training opportunities abroad.  These organizations also may be a good source for interested students.  Additionally, many universities offer programs or courses that feature Hungarian based curriculum.  University students involved in these programs may be interested as well. 

      Reaching out to those with interests in Hungarian language and culture can be done through local list serves, websites, and direct contact with Hungarian-American clubs, societies, and churches.  Putting advertisements or notices in local search engines like Craig’s list (www.craigslist.org) or other similar search tools can also yield positive results.  One useful group list serve in the Washington metropolitan area and beyond is the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. which allows for the sharing of information of interest to the Hungarian community.

      Finding those interested in studying the language may be only half the battle, as you must also get those interested in a language class to commit to participating.  Some will do so right away, but others may need more persuasion.  We have found that inviting those unsure of registering for a class to participate in one or two classes without making a commitment usually results in joining the group.  Another way to allow students to “test the waters” is to schedule a social gathering, perhaps at a local restaurant, to allow prospective students to meet the teacher and their classmates and gauge the level of difficulty and their comfort level in moving forward.
    • Finding a place to meet – Holding a class requires a quiet and well-suited place to meet.  This need not be elaborate, but should provide enough space for the number of students you expect, the teacher and, perhaps, one or two additional spaces for visiting guests.  A whiteboard, blackboard, or writing easel is also very useful to have—as is access to the Internet and the availability of a computer or laptop (a means of projecting images and some type of audio equipment for dialogue.)  Most of this is readily available in a classroom or office setting today, but improvisation is sometimes required. 

      In our experience of six years of offering language classes, finding classroom space has, at times, been challenging.  If you have access to a local Hungarian heritage center, school, or church, that would be the first place to look.  Churches that may not have a Hungarian connection but have Hungarian American members or simply are willing to help can also be approached for meeting space.  They may be willing to make classroom space available for non-profit entities serving their local communities.

      A local public or private school or library that might have available meeting space may also be a possibility.  However, sometimes, public spaces are only available to non-profit entities if no admission fee is charged.  One way to satisfy that limitation is to not charge tuition for the class, but to ask for voluntary contributions.  This helps to defray costs and take on the cost of the language program as an educational program of the non-profit Hungarian-American organizations that organize the class.

      Another option to consider is to find a business that is willing to allow the class to meet in a suitable space (like a conference room, lunchroom, or meeting area).  We have found that sometimes students in the class or members of the organization’s leadership may have employers with space available for class purposes.  Some employers will treat this as a charitable donation for which they can claim a tax deduction.  Finally, the homes of the students and teachers can also serve as suitable space.

      Some of these spaces require some kind of payment that can be nominal in nature or fairly significant (potentially even approaching the cost of providing a teacher).  Therefore, finding a suitable and free or low cost space can be a make-or-break issue for holding a class.  Even those places that do not charge a specific fee, such as churches, may appreciate a donation to allow the costs of maintaining the space.

      We also recommend being considerate of your host and having a clear set of ground rules concerning meeting times, access, safety, and, above all, ensuring that the space is well taken care of and left in the same condition (or better) after every class as it was at the start.  Being respectful of your host and the space you are using is critical to being welcomed back week after week and semester after semester.
    • Finding and hiring a teacher – Ideally, the courses would be taught by trained language teachers who were educated in Hungary.  However, such individuals are not always available in the United States.  We have had great experience with talented amateur teachers who are passionate about Hungarian culture and willing to acquire language-teaching skills. There are many good resources on the Internet for ESL teachers that can be applied to other languages. The Magyar OK course book’s website (Magyar-ok.hu) also provides plenty of help and materials for teachers: worksheets for classroom use, teacher’s manual, grammar explanations in English, and more.  The key to successful teaching and learning lies in a communicative and student-centered approach and the teacher's willingness to improve his/her teaching skills continuously.

    • Textbooks and additional teaching materials – There are several useful textbooks available for use in teaching Hungarian.  Our beginning and intermediate classes are currently using Magyar-OK A1 A2 Book 1, which are award winning, new textbooks and accompanying workbooks published by the Pécsi Tudományegyetem (University of Pécs) and written by Szilvia Szita (who has assisted us in the development of this material) and Katalin Pelcz.  The first set covers the beginner to intermediate level of language education (halfway through the A2 level of the Common European Framework for Language.)  They include coverage of most everyday situations, as well as a strong grounding in Hungarian grammar.  The Kossuth Foundation is the U.S. distributor of these books, which can be ordered on our website, as well as through the www.magyar-OK.hu website established by the University of Pécs and the authors.  At the beginning of January, 2015, they will have a new Book 2 available (completing the A2 level of Hungarian language education).  The books have been used successfully in our class and were recently selected for evaluations and use by the Foreign Services Institute, which provides language education for American diplomats and other government personnel sent to Hungary.

      Our advanced class originally used the Hungaro Lingua textbooks by István Hoffmann and Sándor Maticsák published by the Debreceni Nyári Egyetem (University of Debrecen, Summer Program).  The books were published in 2000 in three levels (1-3) and came with a text and workbook.  Obtaining the books may still be possible in Hungary only.  In recent years, we have increasingly resorted to using material taken from other sources, including newspaper articles, news and entertainment video, and excerpts from classic Hungarian literature.  The material has been augmented by grammar instruction, mostly taken from the excellent text, “Gyakorló Magyar,” by Szilvia Szita and Tamás Görbe.  This text was previously available on Amazon.com, but has not been available in the past couple of years.  One excellent source for books in Hungarian is the Batthyány Kultur Press in Budapest (www.kultur-press.hu), which often can find the books in Hungary and arrange for shipment to the United States.
    • Syllabi – We have developed two different kinds of syllabi so far.  One is a 120-hour course of study divided into two sessions of 60 hours each.  One is a shorter, 96-hour course of study divided into two sessions of 48 hours each.  Please contact us at 1-855-KOSSUTH if you would like to learn more or to get a copy of the syllabus most appropriate for your course of study.

    • Self evaluations – Self evaluation is important for determining what level of study is most appropriate for each student and to measure when a student is ready to move on to the next level of study.  We have prepared self-assessments for each level of advancement.  They can be obtained by contacting us directly.

    • Cost and sources of funding – An important consideration is cost.  There are several possible approaches.  The best option is to first determine what costs would be required (teacher salaries, class space rentals, materials, other overhead) and then divide by the minimal total number of students that would be needed to make the class break even.  Sometimes, the sponsoring organization can provide outside sources of funding or there may be other charitable institutions willing to lend financial support.  Once the total amount estimated for the class or program is determined, it is a matter of allocating the cost among the anticipated number of students in the class.

      In our experience, we assume the teacher salaries required are in the neighborhood of $30 to $40/per hour of teaching to cover both class time and preparation.  Assuming each class is two to two and half hours of instruction, this means that tuition payments must result in $75 - $100 per class session.  If you have five students per course, it would take $15 to $20 per student per class in tuition.  If you assume $20 per student per class, the next step is to calculate the number of classes per semester and multiply to find your suggested tuition.  If the class will be 12 sessions per semester, the target price should be $240 per semester per student.

      While this is a useful method to determine what the fee or suggested contribution should be, it is important to let students know that, to make the class break even, they should pay for the full semester and not per class attended.  Any rental fee for the classroom space can also add to the cost of class and needs to be considered when setting up a class.  See the discussion above concerning finding and paying for classroom space.

      If you wish to order our recommended texts for Hungarian language you can go to the website for the books established by the University of Pecs at www.magyar-OK.hu.  For other Hungarian language books and periodicals, please contact www.kultur-press.hu.

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Hungarian Language Program Update

The January 8, 2018 meeting at Arlington Central Library from 6pm IS CANCELLED due to weather conditions. 

NEW MEETING DATE AND TIME: The Kossuth Foundation will hold an organizational meeting for those interested in attending Hungarian language evening/weekend classes in the spring on January 13, 2018 between 1- 2PM at the Kossuth House (2001 Massachusetts Ave, NW. Washingon DC 20036) close to Dupont Circle. All interested students are encouraged to attend. If there is enough interest we hope to offer beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate and advanced class this spring.

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