The Community Café: Open Practice with Community-based Language Teachers

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Abstract

This case study describes the work of the Community Café project, which ran from 2010-2011. The project's aim was to foster a community of open practice amongst community-based language teachers by encouraging them to create and publish open educational resources related to their teaching, on an open community repository. The project aimed to address the scarcity of up-to-date, online resources for community languages; the lack of training for Community-based teachers in ICT or innovative pedagogy, and the isolated nature of working in informal, community-based settings. This study considers and outlines the practical steps which were taken to set up the project and engage the community group, who were new to open educational resources and open practice. It describes the mix of informal meetings and formal teacher training employed by the project, and also the issues that need to be considered when reaching out to an ethnically diverse community group. It also gives practical examples of how teachers engaged with project tasks and open educational practice. It concludes that open working has the potential to have a significant impact on the professional lives of community-based language teachers, but that such teachers need time to absorb and embed new knowledge effectively.

Keywords: open educational resources, community languages, professional development, open educational practice, repositories, teaching.

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Borthwick, Kate; Dickens, Alison. (2013). The Community Café: Open Practice with Community-based Language Teachers. In Ana Beaven, Anna Comas-Quinn, Barbara Sawhill (Eds), Case Studies of Openness in the Language Classroom (pp. 96-109). Research-publishing.net. https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2013.000113

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