University of Malta

Educational Encounters
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Education encounters: Experiences and reflection

The Education Encounter provides candidates opportunities to engage with educational issues. Through the encounter prospective MTL students are to: 
  • evaluate their own disposition and attitudes towards the profession they are seeking to join; 
  • discern what is required of educators in a variety of educational settings; 
  • gain insight into working with learners, thus giving prospective MTL students an opportunity to understand the variety of learner needs in different contexts. 
The encounter includes two components:

Component A: A process encounter

This component will take the form of a process encounter through engagement in an educational setting; interacting with a learner or learners; producing an educational product or service or equivalent. This could include experiences, which candidates may have already engaged in (up to three years prior to the commencement of the course) such as: voluntary work with learners; involvement in youth clubs, and others. 

Choosing a context where to carry out the Education Encounter
The encounters should take place in established institutions that offer educational services. We understand education in its widest sense and thus it does not have to be directly related to schools or formal teaching. These educational institutions are responsible for applicants during the time spent in them. 

Evidence of experience
Evidence is to be provided for these Education Encounters in order to account for a minimum of 40 hours. These 40 hours may be covered in a relatively short period of time or spread over a longer time span. One of the following forms (and no others) need to be filled by the applicant and by a person who holds an official role with the Institution / Centre / Organisation where the Education Encounter will be held: 

Form 1: Institutions / Centres / Organisations in possession of an School Leaving Certificate (SLC) number: 

If candidates carry out an Education Encounter in an institution included in the list provided here, one is to complete Form 1 and include the SLC number of the institution. This form may be submitted on application for the MTL course. 

Form 2: Institutions / Centres / Organisations not in possession of an School Leaving Certificate (SLC) number:

The Education Encounters may be carried out within other contexts that do not have a SLC number. These are welcome for consideration by the Education Encounters Board of the Faculty of Education. Prospective students who carry out their Education Encounters within such institutions are to fill in Form 2 and send this to the Secretary of the Board, Ms Anne-Marie Attard. These will be considered by the Board during the meetings held on the following dates: 15th February 2016; 15th April 2016; 16th May 2016

This form requires endorsement by the Board, prior to submission.

Being ethical
Applicants are strongly advised to adhere to professional ethics during the educational encounter experience.

Evidence of experience
Evidence would have to be provided for these experiences. This process engagement will last a minimum of 40 hours. These 40 hours could be covered in a relatively short period of time or spread over a longer time span, but within the three years immediately preceding the start of the MTL. The following Form 1 (and no other) needs to be filled by the applicant and the person responsible in the educational institution. 

During the educational encounter
While applicants are engaged in the educational context, it is expected that they reflect and think critically about what is happening in that educational context.

The following are a number of thinking points to start off applicants’ thinking and reflections about the context:
  • What are the educational institution’s vision and aims?
  • Observe the space and environment of the educational institution you are in. How is this conducive to the educational practices that occur in this context?
  • What are the routines of the educational institution you are in? How do educators deal with unexpected changes in routines?
  • What do educators in this institution do? What is their role?
  • What do children and learners do? What is expected from them?
  • What is the relationship between educators and learners? What helps and hinders the development and growth of this relationship?
  • Who are the other stakeholders (institutional and otherwise) in the educational institution you are in? What is their role?
  • What do you think you can offer to the educational context and people who are in it?
  • Was this experience voluntary? How did this experience help you become a better person?
  • Was this experience part of remunerated work? How did this experience help you become a better person?
If applicants have already carried out the educational encounter, they can use the above questions to guide their thoughts on this past experience.

Applicants are advised the following reader to help critical reflection about the educational experience: 

William Hare and John P. Portelli (Eds.) 2005 Key Questions for Educators, Halifax, Nova Scotia: Edphil Books.

For those interested, the following education narratives would be very enriching:

Diamond, J. 2009 Welcome to the Aquarium. A year in the lives of Children. New York, The New Press.

Pennac, D. 2011 School blues. London: MacLehose Press.

Component B: The second component should include two written reflective pieces. Each of the two pieces should be of around 1,500 words. 

The first excerpt should be a descriptive account of the education encounter as well as a reflection on what was learnt in the process. Applicants are advised to use the questions in the above section: During the educational encounter to guide their writing. 

The second piece of writing invites applicants to explore the reasons ‘why’ you wish to become a teacher. The following questions may help applicants start off their writing:
  • What are your hopes and dreams in becoming-teacher?
  • Was there a particular teacher who influenced your decision to become a teacher?
  • What particular attitudes and characteristics do you possess that would contribute in becoming a teacher?
On application
With the application you will need to submit: 

The completed Form 1 that testifies that you have 40 hours of educational experience;

The two reflective written pieces, see Form 3. These will be submitted through Turnitin to check for plagiarism. Plagiarising will automatically exclude the written pieces. These two reflections are not marked but their content may be used during an interview, and will constitute the first entry in students’ e-portfolio.

Last Updated: 22 March 2016

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