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  • AutorenbildAchilleas Kostoulas

ReaLiTea meeting in Dortmund

Despite a trifecta of airline, railroad and local transport strikes, the ReaLiTea team successfully met for our first onsite meeting in Dortmund, Germany on 5th and 6th March 2024.


We are happy to share that we have all been making very good progress with our tasks. For one, we are close to completing the corpus of publications on teacher research. This includes examples of published research reports, conference abstracts and reflections, written by teachers about their practice. We envisage that, when this is complete and analysed, it will not only provide readers with a useful set of examples for their own writing, but will also help us to tease out some features of writing that can help us all become more effective in communicating findings of our classroom research.


Another exciting outcome of the meeting was that we explored ways in which to integrate the various 'strands' of our work more strongly and more meaningfully. For example, we already have access to a very valuable set of article summaries (the OASIS database), we are developing resources to help teachers write more effectively about research, and we are working on a discussion space for teachers to discuss interesting research they come across. But what if we brought all this together, by directing teachers to OASIS, or encouraging them to write summaries that could be hosted there, or creating space for collaborative discussion about these summaries?


Significant progress has also been made in developing an online space that can serve as a virtual community of practice for language teachers who want to discuss their classroom inquiries and share ideas and insights. We are still working out some technical details and making sure that everything will comply with European data protection and privacy laws. However, we are confident that all this work and piloting will be completed soon and we are looking forward to launching the space in 2024!


In addition to these developments, we used the meeting to make sure we better understand how the various strands of the project interact with each other, and to make sure that there will be no bottlenecks in the production of outputs. We also explored various alternatives to share developments, outputs and news about the project. We already use Twitter (@ReaLiTea_Info), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ReaLiTea.Info/) and Bluesky (@realitea.bsky.social), and we are actively looking for more ways to reach out to anyone interested in our work, without stretching out our capacity or becoming too ‘noisy’ online.


Another thing that we discussed involved making sure that our outputs promote diversity, equality and inclusion. We are fortunate, in this regard, to be able to build on the experience of the English Language Learning and Neurodiversity project (ELLeN). This has helped us to create a consistent set of guidelines for our communications –bearing in mind the diverse ways in which inclusiveness is linguistically enacted across languages. However, we are also aware that a diversity and inclusion agenda is more than establishing a set of ‘best practices’ and ticking the boxes that will satisfy a funding agency. As we continue working in this direction, we are always open to input from all of you, our community of teachers, which will help us best implement our commitment to inclusion.


We feel that this meeting has helped us all to move forward with the ReaLiTea project, and also that it has made us stronger and more effective as a team. We are looking forward to sharing more developments as we continue to make progress with ReaLiTea!

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