M.Ed. Research Showcase
The second part of the Faculty of Education's Master's in Education (M.Ed.) Dissertation Showcase took place on Friday 12th December at St.James Cavalier in Valletta. Around 40 persons turned up for the event that consisted of two presentations by graduates from the Faculty's Master's degree programme as well as two expositions concerning two recent developments in the Faculty's teacher education programme. The event was one of the activities held this year to commemorate the Faculty of Education's25th Anniversary.
The two M.Ed graduates who presented the findings of their thesis were Mr. Alan Marsh and Ms. Jacqueline Rotin. Two other graduates,Mr. George Camilleri and Ms.Maria Vella Muscat ,both Gozitan, were also scheduled to present their work. They were however left stranded in Gozo owing to the inclement weather.
The event was opened by Dr Carmel Borg, the Faculty of Education's Dean, who spoke of the importance attached by the Faculty to research at all levels, ranging from the preparation and supervision of undergraduate dissertations to research carried out by faculty members which is published in international refereed journals. The organisation of this two part event (the first part, consisting of four presentations by M.Ed graduates took place in June) testifies to the Faculty's commitment in this regard. The Faculty established a Publications and Research Committee for this purpose and it is this committee which is responsible for the organisation of the two part showcase that will now become an annual event.
The first presenter, Mr. Alan Marsh, a leading TEFL specialist, described his case studies of the spoken and written reflections of two 'English as a Foreign Language' teachers who learnt to adopt a learner-centred approach to communicative language teaching while following an RSA/Cambridge CELTA EFL teacher training course. The case studies explored how both teachers developed their own dynamic theories of teaching and learning through reflection on their teaching practice, rather than through conceptions derived from external theoretical knowledge. A significant finding was the fact that, for both teachers, moving from a traditional teacher-centred
approach towards a learner-centred one involved undergoing an emotional and psychological process in which reflection focused on crisis, dissonance between 'theory' and practice and continuous discoveries about themselves as individuals. Mr. Marsh argued that, in order to facilitate this process, it is important to give teacher trainees ample opportunity to articulate their pre-training experiences and conceptions of teaching and learning before they are able to move on to a new conceptual framework which they fully own.
The second presenter, Ms.Jacqueline Rotin, a Home Economics teacher, spoke about the action research which she carried out with her colleague in a girls' area secondary school in order to deal with the implementation of the SEC Home Economics examination course work. Apart from providing an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of course work as experienced by both teachers and students, Ms. Rotin also highlighted theories that emerged on how to deal with course work in the classroom. Ms. Rotin's work is in itself a study on action research in that it analyses the use of this type of research in the Maltese classroom from a practical and a critical point of view.
The final part of the programme consisted of two presentation by members of the Faculty of Education. Dr Deborah Chetcuti, from the Faculty's Departmentof Mathematics, Science and Technical Education, gave a presentation on theFaculty's Professional Development Portfolio recently introduced for the benefit of prospective teachers undergoing the initial teacher education programme leading to the B.Ed(Hons.) degree. Mr Colin Calleja, from the Faculty's Department of Primary Education, spoke about a recent Cd introduced by the Faculty to assist prospective school teachers in planning teaching resources to be used in the primary level classroom.