Carolyn Blume presented on September 23rd 2022 at the colloquium of the TU Dortmund’s Institute of Diversity Studies (Link: https://div.kuwi.tu-dortmund.de/) on behalf of the ELLeN Project Team. In keeping with the colloquium’s theme with the title “How to Research Diversity,” she gave a lecture entitled “How to Research Neurodiversity with Pre-Service Teachers.” In this brief presentation, Carolyn summarized the theoretical foundations and practical implementation of the ELLeN Project. Joining researchers from the departments of Rehabilitation Sciences, Social Studies, and the English and German Cultural Studies, Linguistics and Literature Departments, Carolyn’s brief presentation focused on the interplay between method (inquiry-based learning) and content (neurodiversity) in the ELLeN project. In discussion with colleagues, she was able to discuss the connections between this approach to inclusive teacher education and themes of linguistic decolonization, migration experiences, and intersectional narratives. Exploring issues surrounding participative philosophies, methodological challenges, and complex data types, the participants used the opportunity to learn how diversity is constructed – and examined – in various academic fields.
On September 12th 2022, different stakeholders involved in the ELLeN project shared their experiences and perspectives on using inquiry-based learning in the context of preparing English language teachers for the heterogeneous classroom. The event, taking place as a pre-conference symposium within the Professionstagung 2022, was also used to launch version 1.0 of the Teacher’s Handbook, which details methods and materials developed within the project, suitable for teacher education seminars. The full text and supplementary material are available online for download.
On July 1st, Assistant Prof. Dr. Carolyn Blume from TU Dortmund received the „IDEAward“ teaching award for her ELLeN-based seminar „Exploring Digitally-Mediated English Usage Among Neurodivergent Learners„. In this seminar, teacher education students interviewed neurodivergent individuals, practicing their research skills while also learning more about the language-learning related needs and experiences of autistic individuals and people with dyslexia and AD(H)D.
The seminar, which was co-taught with Dr. Judith Bündgens-Kosten from Goethe University Frankfurt, drew on input by all ELLeN participants, and featured guest lectures by Aleksander Knauerhase, as well as by Prof. Dr. Michelle Proyer and Prof. Dr. Geert Van Hove. In her acceptance remarks, Carolyn Blume explicitly thanked the many neurodivergent individuals who served as interviewees and who have made this seminar possible.
On May 28th and 29th, the project team met at the University of Vienna, to discuss work progress and next steps. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, this was the first face-to-face meeting for the consortium.
One key element of the ELLeN project is the development material that can be used to address the topic of “Neurodiversity in the EFL classroom” in teacher education, drawing on Inquiry Based Learning methods. This winter term, material and concepts will be trialled at University of Vienna, University Dortmund and Goethe University Frankfurt. Several dozen students will work with the material, providing valuable feedback that will be used for future revisions.
On September 23rd, the ELLeN team presented their project at the DGFF Kongress. A pdf version of the slides used can be downloaded via ResearchGate.