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Role of Boys’ Peer Groups In A Secondary School In Malta

John R. PorteIli

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Adolescence is a period when friendship, social acceptance by peers, and a sense of belonging grow in importance. In addition to this, it is also a time when physical, sexual, cognitive and emotional changes significantly alter the way young adolescents think about themselves and each other. Peer networks form a vital part of children’s life at school and the aims of this article, which is based on a Case Study of a Boys’ secondary school in Malta, are (i) to demonstrate how messages about what it means to be a boy are both transmitted and enforced by boys in these groups and, consequently, (ii) to illustrate the significant role peer group cultures have in the construction of student masculine identities and their effect on students’ behaviour and participation at school.

Why Critical-Democratic Engagement?

John P. PorteIli, Brenda J. McMahon

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As an alternative to either conservative or liberal conceptions of student engagement, this paper provides the groundwork for a conception of student engagement that is consistent with critical democratic ideologies of schooling which we refer to as ‘critical-democratic engagement.’ More specifically, the purpose of this paper is to further the discussion of critical- democratic engagement by clarifying the meaning of critical engagement, its importance and significance, and its implications for education. The paper proposes a conception of student engagement based on critical-democratic practice that entails the enactment of a curriculum of life.

Students’ Readiness For Online Learning: A Case Study From The Faculty Of Education, University Of Malta

Bernard Agius

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The 21st century challenges traditional higher education on several fronts among them education delivery and institutional sustainability. Online learning proposes new ways for better resource utilisation whilst providing desirable methodologies in the domain of learning. This study investigates students’ readiness to accept online learning modes and differentiates from previous research by focusing on the full-time undergraduate in the Maltese scenario where physical distance is not considered a barrier. A quantitative research was conducted on students in full-time pre-service teacher education at the University of Malta. Students’ level of connectivity; technical skills; and perceptions, attitudes and intentions towards online learning; were investigated. Results indicate that students are mostly technically ready both in terms of connectivity and skills which resolve into positive perceptions, attitudes and intentions. However, the study also reveals that previous experience of such modes is very limited amongst students.

Primary Education: simply an academic experience?

Michael Aquilina

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“Prospective teachers enter teacher training with a broad range of experiences affecting attitudes and beliefs about methods of teaching and the value of different subjects” (Morgan et al, 2002).

This paper studies how prospective student-teachers comprehend the term education in relation to their primary education experience, and how future primary school teachers give weight to different subjects on the curriculum, and why. The cohort of Primary B. Ed (Hons) students (intake October 2003) was questioned on its first day at University. As was expected, English, Maltese, and Mathematics were mentioned as the most important subjects during their primary education; however, the reasons behind this choice were varied. Their concept of education had been influenced by an academic-oriented curriculum. Although the NMC (1995) advocates a holistic-oriented approach, these respondents have had a diverse experience. It is presumed that during their pre-service training students are exposed to studies which would enlighten their perceptions; however, the question remains whether “the effects of teacher education on attitudes and beliefs are only temporary…” (Morgan et al, 2002), meaning that they will revert to their previous perceptions once they go in the field.