What has the project achieved this year?
During the first year of this two-year project, the METLA team focused on the development of the Teaching Guide which can help teachers incorporate cross-lingual mediation in their teaching practices and classrooms. The METLA team has worked hard in order to:
a) design a set of cross-linguistic mediation tasks on the basis of a specially designed template;
b) collect material for these mediation tasks (texts, photographs, videos, audios etc.);
c) develop tools for the evaluation of the tasks by experts and teachers/practitioners; and
d) find potential educators who would like to pilot the cross-linguistic tasks.
What activities and events were carried out?
Three big events took place (2 expert meetings and 1 network meeting) while a series of informal expert online meetings (6 in total) during this first year helped the team to develop bonds and learn how to work together. As a result of a fruitful collaboration, the team has already prepared 20 mediation tasks involving different languages (English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Maltese, Portuguese, and Spanish, among others). By mid-January 2021, METLA tasks will have been piloted in real classrooms and some additional versions of tasks including more languages will also be produced. These tasks will accompany the Teaching Guide and add to it a very important practical dimension. The team has also participated in numerous online teacher training events and conferences around Europe in order to present the project and disseminate this work. Many teachers around Europe are now willing to participate in our future activities!
What were the challenges?
A big challenge is working on such a demanding project with team members from different countries without having physically met once. The team managed to build strong relationships and adapted very well given the trying circumstances we all face, both personally and academically. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dissemination of the information has also been challenging, since some of the conferences we targeted had our abstracts accepted, but then had to be postponed. Piloting the activities has also been a challenge since most of the teachers have started teaching online and they find that learning about this mode of teaching has taken most of their preparation time.
How did target audience react?
On a positive note, we feel that those challenges have made us work harder and focus on maximizing our productivity. We are a highly motivated team and we strongly believe in this project. The collaboration between the team members and several stakeholders has added a multifaceted aspect to this project and we feel privileged to be able to conduct this work. The excellent reception of the project among the target audience was beyond our expectations and this further encourages us to look forward to the coming year with enthusiasm and optimism.
Maria Stathopoulou, project coordinator