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A Bourdieusian Interpretation of the University of the Third Age in Malta

Marvin Formosa

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The objective of this research paper was to embed the study of older adult education in Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of distinction. Field research was carried out at the University of the Third Age in Valletta in Malta [U3E] with data indicating that the primary indicator for membership was being situated in the ‘young-old’ cohort’, possessing relatively higher levels of educational attainment and qualifications, as well as previous experience in white collar and occupational occupations. Most members were unaware of the real aims and objectives of the phenomenon of the U3E, and seemed to identify cultural pursuits with high-brow culture. Similar to traditional educational systems older adult education came across as a political activity and part of a large macrocosm of symbolic institutions that reproduce existing power relations in a subtle manner. The study thus concluded that attending the U3E is less than an actual example of ‘transformative education’ but more like another euphemism for glorified occupation therapy.

The classroom assessment cycle within the alternative assessment paradigm: exploring the role of the teacher

Michael A. Buhagiar

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This review paper explores the role of the teacher in classroom assessment within the parameters set by the demands and expectations of the new, alternative assessment paradigm. After briefly outlining the underlying philosophy of this new paradigm, classroom assessment is presented as a cycle of four interrelated phases – namely, ‘planning the activity’, ‘gathering the evidence’, ‘interpreting the evidence’ and ‘using the evidence’. Within each phase, teachers’ classroom assessment practices are discussed in relation to how these compare with what is needed in order to bring assessment at the service of learning, which lies at the heart of our new understanding of assessment. The realisation that, generally speaking, teachers’ assessment practices remain firmly anchored to the traditional assessment theories and policies sends a clear signal that something needs to be done unless we want to risk reversing, with grave consequences for learning, the whole assessment reform process.

Predictors of Overall Performance in Physics Matric Advanced Level: An insight into entry requirements

Jacqueline Pace, Louisella Bonello

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Predicting the future performance of a student based on the past performance is no easy task. Developing such a tool would enable Colleges and Universities as well as other institutions to spend their resources more wisely. This study is an attempt to use the Physics SEC result as a predictor for performance at Physics Matric Advanced level. Furthermore, five college-based assessment results taken during the students’ two year course are also employed as predictors. The study shows that the number of females pursuing the study of Physics at Advanced level is rather low when compared to the males. More significantly, all the assessment tools examined are modest predictors of performance. The Physics SEC result does give a rough indication of Matric performance. However, achieving a bad grade at SEC level is not a barrier towards achieving a good result at Matric level. This means that making the Physics Matric course more stringent is not the way to making it better.

Let Me Learn in-service training: A teacher’s experience

Colin Calleja, Maria Montebello

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This paper zooms in on the story of a classroom teacher who participated in the Let Me Learn professional staff development programme. It aims to illustrate how the LML process served as a “liberating experience” for the young teacher and, in particular, for one of her pupils. Through the voice of the teacher, as expressed in her professional journal, this paper portrays the growth experienced by this teacher in terms of her intentionality in the choice of appropriate strategies of success. The paper will show how through the adoption of LML, this teacher has sharpened her skill in analyzing tasks and students’ needs and demands through a metacognitive reflective process and through applying personalized responsive strategies. The student improved conception of the learning environment, and motivation to behave better and perform in academic tasks was also noted.

Promoting Democratic Citizenship: an exploration of the current educational debate about what students at the beginning of the 21st century should be encouraged to understand by the concepts of ‘democracy’ and ‘citizenship’

Philip Caruana

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The study refers to two main theories in the field – the theory that promotes citizenship education for national identity, and the other theory that foregrounds citizenship education as shared fate. This study proposes reflections and conclusions as a result of the exploration of the foregoing theories. In this way the study synthesises the positive elements of both theories and proposes recommendations to improve the effectiveness of education for citizenship.