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Through their eyes and with their words: An exploration of the immigrant students in Malta and their perceptions of Malta’s two official languages

Sharon Micallef Cann, Doreen Spiteri

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In various countries in Europe, immigrant students settle into a new school – a process fraught with difficulties and challenges as they struggle to make sense of their new surroundings and new ways of being, mediated through what is often a foreign language. For such students in Malta the task is doubled as they need to cope with two languages – Maltese and English – both present in the educational setup and essential for the transition into Maltese school life. This article reports on part of a multiple case study that explored immigrant students’ experiences and perceptions of the two languages in Maltese state secondary education. Through a process of trust building and interviews, the immigrant students were invited to express their feelings verbally and through drawings to better communicate what they were going through. The result is a touching wakeup call to the particular hardships faced by these students as they attempt to cope with two linguistic codes in a context that is not always supportive.

School Careers and Delinquent Involvement: A retrospective investigation into the schooling experiences of habitual offenders

Marilyn Clark, Carmel Cefai

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This paper investigates the schooling experiences of young people who pursued a criminal career and consequently became habitual offenders. The data presented are part of a larger grounded theory project on criminal career development among Maltese male youth. The narrative approach adopted in the study allows one to explore offenders’ school careers from their perspective and adopts an inductive design. While the direction of the link between schooling and juvenile delinquency remains complex and contested, exploring the role of the school in delinquent development has important implications for intervention. This paper shows how school experiences have important implications for the development of delinquent careers and are an important contingency in relation to early onset of delinquency. Participant’s negative school experiences and adjustment, engagement in truancy and labelling within the school context are some of the key themes which emerged from the students’ narratives. Although not conclusive, the data from this study implies that dissatisfaction with the educational experience combined with other contingencies, may set the stage for more serious delinquency in and out of school.

English Language Competence and the Area Secondary School: An Innovative Pilot Project

Kristyn Debra Mohr

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A passing score (1-5) on the Maltese Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) English Language exam is required for entry eligibility into Form VI. In 2010, 3,248 students received a passing grade on the English Language SEC exam. Of 3,248 passes in total, only 106 were obtained from students hailing from area secondary schools. The aim of this paper is to share an innovative project piloted at an area secondary school during the 2010 – 2011 academic year. The project, which included collaboration between a group of Maltese and American teenagers, suggested that through the lens of cultural exchange Form 4 students could be motivated to harness their English language skills at a critical point in their academic careers. This paper will address the need for attention to be given to a pocket of students currently underperforming their peers of Junior Lyceum, Church and Independent schools. It will provide an overview of the project piloted, including the planning, development and execution stages, obstacles and outcomes. It will conclude by offering recommendations for improvement and future sustainability.

Gendered Attitudes and Outcomes of Community Service-Learning

Milosh Raykov, Alison Taylor

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This study analysed survey data from 525 students who took a community service-learning (CSL) course between 2005 and 2012 at the University of Alberta. Since just over three-quarters of these students was female, this study explores gender differences in student experiences of service learning. For example, there are significant differences regarding the type of male and female involvement in community. The study also found significant gender differences in motivations for participating. In addition, while similar proportions of male and female students would recommend this form of learning to other students, they do so for different reasons. Finally, the analysis of open-ended questions shows other gender differences in experiences and suggests actions that might mitigate the gender gaps in CSL.

The institution of compulsory preschool education in Greece

Vasilios Oikonomidis

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Compulsory preschool education for 5-year-old children was instituted by law in Greece in 2006. However, the implementation of the law encountered several problems. This article, on the occasion of the recent institution of compulsory preschool education in Greece, discusses in a critical manner the views that have been voiced in favour and against it and offers an insight of the corresponding situation in other European countries. This article analyses the corresponding legislative course in Greece, focusing on data from the last three years. It identifies and presents oversights and omissions that characterize the implementation of the aforementioned law. Finally, the article offers suggestions that can contribute to the improvement of preschool education in Greece. In this way, the article criticizes the Greek government policy, a policy that governments from other countries must avoid during their efforts to institute compulsory preschool education.

The SForD-TP Project: Promoting School-Based Mentoring in Initial Teacher Education at the University of Malta

Michael A. Buhagiar, Deborah A. Chetcuti

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There is no abstract available for this article.

COMMENTARY: Re-Imagining Self in a World of Change – A Conversation with Valerie Walkerdine

John Grech

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Valerie Walkerdine’s “Using the Work of Felix Guattari to Understand Space, Place, Social Justice, and Education” examines a number of theoretical ideas derived principally from Felix Guattari’s work with psychiatric patients. Walkerdine applies these approaches to educational settings where personal subjective change and transformation is desired. The central approach utilises imaginative work and a rethinking of subjecthood in an attempt to equip the individual to deal with what is perceived as a potential destabilisation, alienation, and perhaps disintegration of the self’s sense of identity as a result of life changing educational inputs. This “Conversation” engages Walkerdine’s and Guattari’s work and reconsiders some basic tenets in their approaches and challenging the continuing reliance on orthodox theory concerning early childhood development, attachment, and the threat that change is thought to pose to ideas of self. While supporting Walkerdine’s and Guattari’s overall approach, particularly in relation to adults, I argue that there are significant flaws in conventional childhood development and attachment theories underpinning their method. Drawing on more recent findings in biological and brain science, I propose that it is today possible to abandon moribund psychoanalytic theoretical premises of childhood development and arrive at a more empirically founded, non-pathological understanding of both change and human development.

REVIEW: Carmel Borg (ed.) L-Edukazzjoni hi Politika: Kitbiet Paulo Freire, Malta, Horizons, ISBN: 9789995738228, 2013, pp. 414

Joseph Gravina

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There is no abstract available for this article.

REVIEW: Carmel Cefai & Valeria Cavioni, Social and Emotional Education in Primary School: Intergrating Theory And Research Into Practice, New York And London, Springer, ISBN: 978-1-4614- 8752-4 , 2014, Pp.181

Charmaine Agius Ferrante

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REVIEW: Hans A. Andrews, Recognition vs merit pay for our best teachers, Ottawa, Matilda Press, 13 978-0- 9923182-7-7, 2014, pp. 94

Michelle Attard Tonna

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There is no abstract available for this article.