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Hope in Groundlessness: Art’s Denial as Pedagogy

John Baldacchino

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Education’s ill-fated toing and froing between ‘progressive’ and ‘conservative’ ideologies has precluded the possibility of groundlessness from our ways of thinking, doing and making. Yet it is by force of the contingent language of groundlessness and its usage of trope, paradox and aporia that contemporary art re-articulates human thinking beyond a boxed idea of reason. The main tenor of this essay is to argue and suggest that the quandary of the contingent self is no excuse for the restoration of a ground in art and education. It is through the notion of groundlessness that one seeks hope. Equally it is because of the idea of groundlessness that our ethical responsibilities cannot ignore the primacy of individual Choice. The pedagogy of art’s refusal emerges against such backdrop. This essay is partly offered as a dialogue on art and education by drawing some attention to the philosophies of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Vattimo; as well as the art of Francis Bacon, Marino Marini, Kiki Smith and Frank Auerbach.

Teachers as Mothers – Practices of Subversion

Simone Galea

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This paper explores the possibilities for women teachers to use their maternal connotations to their teaching in differently conceptualizing themselves as mothers and teachers. The paper draws on Irigaray’s theories of mimesis and Foucaultian notions of power and the care of the self to understand women teachers’ use of their maternal teaching positions to go beyond the limiting social expectations of themselves as teachers as mothers. The theoretical explanations of practices of subversion are used in combination with the articulations of three women teachers’ understandings of themselves as women and mothers and their ethics of care in particular. Their accounts of their caring selves are considered to be both practices of the care of the self and practices that subvert the usual discourses of the maternal and teaching.

Compulsive Consumption and Commercial Media: Changing Attitudes to Spending and Saving Among Maltese Youth

Joe Grixti

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This paper explores changing patterns in young Maltese people’s attitudes to spending and saving, and how they see their lives and opportunities as being different from those of their parents’ generation. The paper suggests that many of these perceptions have been inflected by the increasingly global and commercialised orientations of the media environments inhabited by today’s youth. It is because these influences are so often unexamined or misconstrued that more systematic and widespread programmes of critical media education are called for.

“The Voyage From ‘111.C.A.S.T’ To Industry” A Perceived Gap Analysis Of The Critical Competencies’ Evaluative Dimensions In The Manufacturing Technical Sector

Andrew Triganza Scott, Vincent Cassar

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The manufacturing topography is changing as organizations re-organize to become more cost effective and efficient. In light of this, technical professionals have to learn new competencies in order to maintain both their employability and their organization competitive. In Malta, MCAST has been trusted with providing this baggage of competencies. This study examines the perceptual gaps of salient evaluative dimensions for four broad competency domains in this sector: Core Knowledge, Technical / Vocational, Managerial and Soft competencies. 200 technical students at MCAST, 30 instructors and 30 Human Resources personnel are surveyed and comparisons conducted. In general, evaluations are more homogeneous between students and instructors and different from those of HR representatives. While the former groups consider the more technical competencies to be high on the manufacturing agenda, HR representatives think differently. These perceptual gaps are discussed in light of the need for consolidating bridges between MCAST and the Manufacturing industry.

Gender Differences in Headteacher Leadership and Management Styles: A Study of a number of Headteachers in Maltese Secondary Schools

Antoinette Pace, John Pace

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The gender issue figures prominently in leadership and management studies. The question is whether there actually is gender stereotyping in leadership and management styles, or whether there is cross-gender homogeneity, or even evidence of androgyny. The aim of this research was to investigate this question within a number of local educational settings. The research consisted of structured interviews with eight headteachers, four female and four male, in state, church and independent secondary schools in Malta. A self-report questionnaire was also administered to the eight headteachers on the subject of leadership and management styles. The results show up the myth of gender differences in educational leadership and management. Apart from a few exceptions, there was broad cross-gender homogeneity between the headteachers. There also emerged an ideal `headteacher leadership style’ with equal numbers of female and male characteristics. The findings have important implications both for the practice of educational leadership and management in contemporary schools and for future research on this subject.