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Liberating Education: Reasserting the Value of Philosophy and History in Teacher Education Programmes

Dr Deb J. Hill, Professor Gregory Lee

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The contemporary recasting of education as a marketable commodity and a formal, institutional activity has had serious consequences for scholars working as philosophers and historians of education. In our own experience, both forms of “reductionism” have made it increasingly difficult for us to argue for the retention of courses that sustain a broader linkage between education and the human condition within teacher education programmes. Because of the predominant misperception among many of our colleagues that what we do is actually extraneous to the “real business” of teaching teachers how to become “good educators,” our research activities have likewise been called into question. Historical and philosophical understandings no longer appear “relevant” to the needs of the institution—and even to the field itself. By outlining what we do within our own teaching practice, we illustrate how students’ exposure to the history and philosophy of education contributes powerfully to a better-informed and critically conscious teaching profession.

Predictive Validity of Examinations at the Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) level

Dr Josette Farrugia, Prof Frank Ventura

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This paper presents the predictive validity of results obtained by 16-year-old Maltese students in the May 2004 Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) examinations in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Computing, English and Maltese for the Advanced level examinations in these subjects taken by the same students two years later. The study checks whether the SEC level is a good foundation for the higher level, the likelihood of obtaining a high grade at A-level from particular SEC results, possible gender differentials and differentials between students who obtained grades 4 and 5 from optional SEC papers. The results show moderately high predictive validity values ranging from 0.76 to 0.52 and no fixed pattern in the likelihood of obtaining a high A-level grade. No significant gender differences and no fixed pattern of differences in the Advanced level results of students who had obtained SEC grades 4 and 5 from Paper 2A or 2B were noted.

Learning about Learning

Dr Chris Watkins

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This article examines the area of learning about learning and its role as a key element of effective learning in classrooms. Approaches to facilitating learning about learning in the classroom are discussed in the light of international research evidence, and a particular approach is advanced which involves enriching pupils’ narratives about their learning. The effects of classroom interventions are reviewed calling on two forms of evidence: that generated by research teams and that generated by practising teachers. A framework is developed to illuminate the sort of development which occurs in pupils’ talk about their learning.

Maltese youngsters with very challenging behaviour speak about school

Dr Angela Abela, Mikela Smith La Rosa

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Fourteen young persons between 10 and 18 years of age, who were in a service designed for youngsters with challenging behaviour, chose to speak about their experience at school when interviewed about significant moments in their lives. All of them had experienced a wide range of heavy losses throughout their lives and felt labelled and in some cases bullied by their school peers. Some of the youngsters who were in a special school enjoyed the positive relationship with their teachers and peers while others did not like the low level of instruction and the fact that it was not like a normal school. A number of children felt that their misbehaviour in mainstream education precipitated their placement in a specialist setting although one boy was sent to a special school simply because he was feeling unhappy. Particular teachers or heads were criticised for being too harsh or for picking on the children or not maintaining confidentiality. Therapeutic interventions are explored.

Didactique du F.L.E. à Malte: analyse de textes non littéraires: techniques d’approche

Dr Laurent Seychell

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Compréhension, explication, reformulation, résumé ou contraction et analyse de textes, voilà des activités langagières permettant un entraînement graduel en langue française. Il n’y en a qu’une seule qui fait peur, qui rebute les apprenants, c’est l’analyse où contrairement aux autres fait disséquer la langue de l’intérieur et de l’extérieur. « C’est un exercice de stylistique qui s’écarte des exercices traditionnels et qui constitue une sérieuse préparation à l’étude des sciences du langage dispensées par le Département de Français dans son cursus universitaire » (voir cahier de didactologie II de l’auteur du présent travail). La présente communication vient à l’aide de ceux qui éprouvent de la répugnance pour cet exercice. Non seulement, elle présente deux modèles d’analyse qui font toucher du doigt aux apprenants maltais et étrangers les problèmes inhérents à une telle activité langagière mais elle dévoile les outils d’analyse pour y arriver d’une manière sûre. Depuis les apports saussuriens et la contribution de ses successeurs à l’analyse scientifique du langage, la linguistique et partant toutes les disciplines voisines (didactique des langues étrangères, stylistique, sociolinguistique, etc.) ont donné une face nouvelle à l’analyse textuelle qui s’écarte sur bien des points d’une analyse traditionnelle de texte fondée sur l’intuition et la psychologie traditionnelle.