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Report on seminars - University of Malta

Seminars for school teachers, University    students reading a Bachelor of Education (Honours) degree, post-graduate students, school administrators and University colleagues

Date: Tuesday 24th May & Thursday 2 June
Venue: University of Malta

 

 

These two seminars were respectively held for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Education (Tuesday 24th  May) and for teachers, post- graduate students and school administrators (Thursday 2nd June). These seminars were attended respectively by 40 and 13 people, including two colleagues from the University of Malta (see Report on PDF).

1. Opening:

a. Presentation of the Project (Sandro Caruana & George Cremona) (PPT);
b. Distribution of Meridium materials including brochures and CDs;
c. Presentation of the preliminary results of the Meridium Project (Sandro Caruana).

2. Discussions on the following topics:

a. Multilingualism and immigration in Malta;
b. The  outcome  of  the  Meridium  questionnaires  distributed  to children;
c. The  outcome  of  the  Meridium  questionnaires  distributed  to adults.

3. Feedback (Sandro Caruana & George Cremona)
4. Discussion on the following topics:

a. Multilingualism in Maltese schools;
b. Pedagogical issues (in the light of the outcome of the Meridium
questionnaires)

5. Feedback (Sandro Caruana & George Cremona)
6. The way forward: suggestions regarding interpretation of results
7. Closure (Sandro Caruana & George Cremona)

 

Seminar for the wider community

Date: Tuesday 25th May
Venue: St. Paul’s Bay Primary School Hall

 

 

 

This seminar was open to the general public and was organised in collaboration of St Paul’s Bay Local Council. Through contacts obtained by the Local Council (following the initiative of George Cremona) a number of people who form part of the community of St Pauls Bay (one of the locations in which the Meridium questionnaires were distributed and collected) as well as councillors of the locality were invited to attend the seminar. In all 19 people participated in this:

1. Opening:

a. Presentation of the Project (Sandro Caruana & George Cremona);
b. Distribution of Meridium materials including brochures and CDs;
c. Presentation of the preliminary results of the Meridium Project
(Sandro Caruana)

2. Discussions on the following topics:

a. The outcome of the Meridium questionnaires distributed to
children.
b. The outcome of the Meridium questionnaires distributed to
adults.
c. Language use, multilingualism and immigration in Malta;
d. Implication of the Meridium project preliminary results in the
wider community.

3. Feedback (Sandro Caruana & George Cremona)
4. Closure (Sandro Caruana & George Cremona)

General comments:

Although the number of participants in the seminars (especially the one open to the wider community) was less than anticipated, throughout the sessions there was a satisfactory degree of interaction among participants and with The Maltese Meridium team. Overall, the centrality of multilingualism and immigration issues were clearly underlined through feedback received.

In the seminar held with teachers, Education university students and
school administrators the necessity to develop a policy regarding issues related to multilingualism and multiculturalism was mentioned, especially in light of the fact that in Malta a new National Curriculum Framework has just been launched and is currently undergoing a consultation process.

In the seminar to members of the wider community a desire was
manifested in order to obtain further awareness of the situation in Malta, especially where immigration is concerned. This is still seen as a relatively recent social and demographic phenomenon which, as such, seems to be creating a fair amount of apprehension.
As far as the Meridium Project itself is concerned the following are some of the major points which emerged during the discussions:

 

 Seminars for teachers, Education students and  school administrators

 

 

 

 

  • Identifying and understanding situations schools in which there is
  • the presence of non-nationals;
  • Understanding how the needs differ according to the level of schooling involved (Primary, Secondary, Post-Secondary);
  • The difference between non-national students who have a knowledge of English and those who do not;
  • Developing an educational policy on multilingualism;
  • Schooling and the wider community;
  • The need to provide further insight to the results that have emerged from the questionnaires and presented in the brochure;
  • Reconsidering the GiM 1/GiM2 distinction: this is not relevant in the data presented for the Maltese context;
  • Accompanying quantitative data with in-depth qualitative study

 

 Seminar for the wider community

 

 

 

 

 

  • The need for more widespread awareness raising and the importance of avoiding prejudice when presenting and discussing such issues;
  • Interpreting the data of the Meridium questionnaires even in the light of the implications at a wider community level;
  • The need to explain clearly the objectives of the Meridium project and how these can be transferred from the schooling setting were the questionnaires were held to more business-oriented sectors.
  • It was remarked that the materials should have also been translated into Maltese.
 
Other dissemination activities:

The Meridium brochures and CD were distributed to the parents, students and staff who contributed to the Project.
Besides, these materials were also distributed to other schools in Malta in the State and in the Church sectors. The children’s brochure, especially, was well received and a number of teachers and Heads of school commented positively on this initiative.

Thanks to the collaboration of colleague Dr Mario Pace, materials were also distributed to 11 Malta Enterprise employees who are studying Italian. 7 of them were following courses at A1 level whereas 4 of them were following courses in Commercial Italian (level B1).

Materials were also distributed to a number of University colleagues
within the Faculty of Education.
These materials will continue to be distributed to other schools and
(during the next academic year) to all students reading for a degree in Education at the University of Malta.

 

 

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