Towards Diversifying Early Language Development Research: The First Truly Global International Summer/Winter School on Language Acquisition (/L+/) 2021

Paulina Aravena-Bravo, Alejandrina Cristia, Rowena Garcia, Hiromasa Kotera, Ramona Kunene Nicolas, Ronel Laranjo, Bolanle Elizabeth Arokoyo, Silvia Benavides-Varela, Titia Benders, Natalie Boll-Avetisyan, Margaret Cychosz, Rodrigo Dal Ben, Yatma Diop, Catalina Durán-Urzúa, Naomi Havron, Marie Manalili, Bhuvana Narasimhan, Paul Okyere Omane, Caroline Rowland, Leticia Schiavon KolbergAndrew Sentoogo Ssemata, Suzy J. Styles, Belén Troncoso-Acosta, Fei Ting Woon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With a long-term aim of empowering researchers everywhere to contribute to work on language development, we organized the First Truly Global /L+/ International Summer/ Winter School on Language Acquisition, a free 5-day virtual school for early career researchers. In this paper, we describe the school, our experience organizing it, and lessons learned. The school had a diverse organizer team, composed of 26 researchers (17 from under represented areas: Subsaharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Central and South America); and a diverse volunteer team, with a total of 95 volunteers from 35 different countries, nearly half from under represented areas. This helped world-wide Page 5 of 5 promotion of the school, leading to 958 registrations from 88 different countries, with 300 registrants (based in 63 countries, 80% from under represented areas) selected to participate in the synchronous aspects of the event. The school employed asynchronous (pre-recorded lectures, which were close-captioned) and synchronous elements (e.g., discussions to place the recorded lectures into participants' context; networking events) across three time zones. A post-school questionnaire revealed that 99% of participants enjoyed taking part in the school. Not with standing these positive quantitative outcomes, qualitative comments suggested we fell short in several areas, including the geographic diversity among lecturers and greater customization of contents to the participants’ contexts. Although much remains to be done to promote inclusivity in linguistic research, we hope our school will contribute to empowering researchers to investigate and publish on language acquisition in their home languages, to eventually result in more representative theories and empirical generalizations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cognition and Development
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the volunteers, who made the/L+/school possible, and all the students for their enthusiasm, active participation, and feedback, which is guiding the organization of the 2023 edition of the school. NBA’s and RG’s work was supported as part of the project C07 in the SFB 1287 at University of Potsdam funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) Project ID 317633480. The school, but not the writing of this manuscript, received support from the following: University of Potsdam, the University of Padova, the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore’s National Research Foundation. We thank Gallaudet University interpreters for supporting Gallaudet students in our school.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Taylor & Francis.


  • Online conference
  • geographic diversity
  • metascience
  • networking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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