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1. What is unique to the Department for Inclusion and Access to Learning?

Our mission is to promote the vision of inclusion, inclusive practices and pedagogies within the educational community in Malta, guided by three principles:
  • We will substantiate all our actions with research
  • We will seek to align all our actions to the principles and values of inclusion
  • We will seek to collaborate with ministries; local and foreign research organisations and national commissions working in the field of inclusion.

Our vision is that of promoting:

  • Concepts of belonging, community and engaging learning opportunities for all learners to develop their self-determination and quality of life, irrespective of ability, disability, gender, cultural heritage, ethnicity, giftedness, religion, status, preference to mode of learning and socio-economic backgrounds and any other uniqueness one might manifest.
  • Quality and equity education for all without any type of barrier or exclusion.
  • The philosophy and strategies of Inclusive education within all the programmes of study and other services offered by the Faculty of Education and the University as a whole.

2. Link with the Faculty Vision

The Mission and Vision of the Department for Inclusion and Access to Learning (DIAL) is inspired by the Vision statement of the Faculty of Education, which, “stands for the lifelong pursuit of knowledge, for social relevance and for the promotion of scholarly and professional inquiry”, and its commitment to the development and implementation of powerful pedagogical practices that foster meaningful learning. The Department seeks to foster a commitment to inclusive education for all. 

3. How does the Department for Inclusion and Access to Learning function within the Faculty, University and the community?

We seek to create an inclusive culture, based on Universal Design for Learning and trans-disciplinary community based teams to ensure respect for difference and value of diversity within the University, the Faculty of Education, schools and the larger community. Through this we seek to provide all learners with an authentic sense of belonging, a high level of self-determination and quality of life. We therefore strive at all times to live and work by the following values:

  • Integrity: We seek to conduct ourselves in accordance with the highest ethical standards in our teaching and research activities. We seek to promote the values of inclusion through our behaviour and professional practice. 
  • Respect: We value our individuality and diversity. We are courteous and respectful to each other, to our students, to all our colleagues within the Faculty and the Maltese community in general.
  • Teamwork:  We work hard together as a department in a true cooperative spirit to develop programmes of study, courses for professional development and research to provide the community with the best possible experiences, research and services within the wider area of inclusion and access to learning for all. 
  • Research and Innovation: We work hard to promote innovative thinking and research-based practices and pedagogies. We aim to be on the cutting edge of research and innovation in the pedagogies of learning and inclusion. We seek to collaborate with international partners in developing useful and innovative research in the area of inclusion and access to learning.

4. Research and Initiatives

Establishing the area of Culturally Relevant Education

A call for a full-time academic position within the Department has been issued. The chosen candidate will be required to conduct applied research in Multicultural and/or Culturally Relevant Education, with a focus on pedagogy. The person chosen to fill this post is to develop the area of culturally relevant education and to work closely with the Ministry of Education to help develop a National strategy for Multicultural Education for Malta. This partnership provides opportunities for collaboration and engagement with teachers and other school personnel, youth, families, community organizations, and other professionals working with diverse communities in Malta.

As part of this target we intend to:

  1. Collaborate with the department of Educational Studies in developing a Minor within the new Master in Teaching and Learning (MTL).
  2. Initiate a review of the Master in Access to Education Culturally Responsive Education (CRE) stream.
  3. Establish collaboration networks with foreign Universities in the area
  4. Establish collaboration with the Directorate and the Ministry of Education in order to institute a National Strategy for Culturally Responsive Education

Establishing the area of Gift and Talented education 
The department intends to:
  1. Establish a collaborative agreement with a foreign University in the areas of Gifted and Talented Education to help us set-up this stream of specialisation within the Master in Access to Education.
  2. Develop a Minor equivalent to 15 ECTS within the MTL programme.

Establishing the area of Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) 
The department intends to:
  1. Establish a collaborative agreement with a foreign ABA Institute to establish a Masters in the area.
  2. In collaboration with the Walden Institute for ABA the department organises basic and advanced seminars for professionals working within the area of behavioural management.

Participate in at least one major European project
Over the coming years we intend to involve ourselves in European projects.  This year we were invited to join the Institute for Linguistics of the University of Malta and other partner institutions in a project entitled Creating an On-line Network, monitoring Team and phone App to counter hate Crime Tactics (C.O.N.T.A.C.T). The proposal was accepted and the project is planned to be launched in October. 
The Department was invited to participate also in the project “I Have Rights”: Towards a Recognition of Non discrimination Principle at School" in the framework of Justice Programme.
The Department was invited to participate in two other projects that were either unsuccessful or did not rank high enough to get the funding, one dealing with Peace Education amongst migrant population (Erasmus+ Non-Violence Education in the Context of Mediterranean Migration – NVE-M); and another larger project - Horizon2020 entitled Platform for HyperActivity Books as Educational Resources (PHABER).
Participate in academic conferences and publish at least one research paper as a department
As a department we believe in teamwork and we are therefore committing ourselves to work as a departmental research team. We intend to participate and present research papers in international conferences (locally and/or abroad) as a department. 

5. Courses and study programmes

Start at least 2 CPD courses in areas identified by schools

Over the coming years we intend to launch at least two CPD short courses following a needs analysis within the educational community. 

Develop the Bachelor in Access to Learning for Teaching Assistants/Learning Support Educators

In October 2015 the Diploma in Facilitating Learning will open for the last time. In the coming months we intend to resume discussions with the Directorate for Student Services to establish a Bachelor level course for the professional preparation of Teaching Assistants which is being seen to replace the LSA support service. 

Last Updated: 6 April 2016

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