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TREL Meeting #2 - 11-12 Oct 24 - Malmö University

Shaun Nolan and Anna Wärnsby, from the Department of Culture, Language, and Media (CLM) at the Faculty of Education and Society, Malmö University (MAU), hosted a team of colleagues participating in the Nordplus Horizontal-funded project known as Teacher Research Literacy (TREL) on the 11-12 October, 2023.

During this second TREL gathering, educators and researchers from Nordic and Baltic countries were given the opportunity to explore research literacy practices in Sweden, with a particular focus on the methodologies employed in the English unit at CLM. The English unit has a strong tradition of training its students to actively engage in research and foster research literacy as an integral component in teacher education and pre-service training. Consequently, the TREL project's primary objective, which is centered around the exchange of best practices and the analysis of teacher research literacy training activities and policies at partner universities, aligns perfectly with the ongoing efforts of the English unit at CLM.

The MAU TREL meeting served as a platform for Shaun and Anna to share their extensive experience in training teachers in research literacy at Malmö University. In turn, their colleagues from the Nordic and Baltic countries participating in the TREL project reciprocated by providing valuable feedback and sharing their own insights and experiences in the realm of teacher research literacy. TREL members engaged in a packed agenda of both professional and social activities during the two-day meeting. These activities encompassed the development of TREL's work framework, the cultivation of collegial relationships, and an introduction to the cherished Swedish tradition of "fika."

In the context of Swedish culture, "fika" is not just a mere coffee break; it transcends that simple definition. It entails the act of sitting down with a cup of coffee or tea, accompanied by some food, all while taking the time to connect with the people around you. In essence, it serves as Sweden's response to the hectic pace of modern life and proved to be an invaluable means of nurturing the relationships necessary for the substantial task of structuring our TREL project's activities.

On the first day of our meeting, after a comprehensive presentation by Shaun and Anna of the university, the department and the English unit that provided valuable insights into the student profile and the unique context of the Öresund region spanning Sweden and Denmark, the TREL team began their exploration of teacher research literacy in the Swedish context. This endeavor commenced with an in-depth examination of the country's thematic report which was prepared by the MAU team, and which garnered noteworthy praise from our TREL visitors. Moreover, this occasion allowed the TREL team to meet one of the authors of the supportive literature, Musrifatun Nangimah, a doctoral student at MAU's Faculty of Education and Society. Musrifatun's outstanding work received particular praise by TREL colleagues.

In the afternoon session, TREL participants were treated to the opportunity to observe a workshop on developing annotated bibliography skills, expertly conducted by Anna. This workshop constitutes an integral component of a graduate course in Sociolinguistics, which is led by Shaun. TREL colleagues generously provided an extensive volume of feedback regarding both the workshop and the methodologies used to teach research literacy to students in the course. These in-class observations and feedback were supported and contextualized by a detailed pre-observation report on the course provided by the MAU team before the meeting.

The wealth of insights collected from these observations and feedback sessions will soon be channeled into the process of preparing publications to disseminate these valuable findings to a wider audience. Moreover, as collegial observations and feedback on teaching practice are not often part of the day-to-day practice at MAU, Anna particularly appreciated the TREL colleagues’ feedback that she took as a further opportunity for professional growth as a teacher educator.

On the second day of our meeting, the TREL team delved into the substantive work of refining the framework for our research data collection. This crucial step involved considerable deliberation on the development of a comprehensive questionnaire designed to capture the experiences of teacher education students in the Nordic and Baltic regions concerning research literacy and the subsequent dissemination of our research findings. Furthermore, we finalized the blueprint for the forthcoming handbook on best practices in teaching research literacy to pre- and in-service teachers.

We held very productive discussions and arrived at a consensus on several effective dissemination strategies. One notable outcome was the establishment of a TREL Facebook group, which is designed to serve as a vibrant and collaborative hub for our project. This platform will enable us to efficiently communicate our work to colleagues not only within the Nordic and Baltic regions but also to a wider global audience.


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