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Title: Some aspects of the teaching of English in the Maltese primary school
Authors: Brother Swithun
Keywords: Education -- Malta
Education, Elementary -- Malta
English language -- Study and teaching (Primary) -- Malta
Issue Date: 1961
Publisher: St. Michael's Training College
Citation: Swithun (1961). Some aspects of the teaching of English in the Maltese primary school. Malta: St. Michael's Training College.
Abstract: To say that Malta is almost virgin soil to the educational investigator and provides an ideal laboratory set-up for studying the teaching of English .as a second language smacks perhaps of a liking for research for its own sake. Properly conceived however, some organised enquiry into the many problems that face local educationists with a view to seeking their solutions could perhaps be of profit. The following pages present, in summary form, an interim account of various pieces of work which I have carried out over the past few years as part of my duties as Lecturer in English Method at St. Michael's Training College. The techniques of teaching English as a second language are being widely studied throughout the .world today and new methods discovered in the light of experience, are constantly being evolved. Reliable data is coming to light and gone are the days of the 'hit-or-miss' methods. Vocabulary is being scientifically weighed, purposeful grammar taught and work books provided so that the learner can achieve maximum progress in minimum time. The end-product - a grasp of the main structures of the English language and the acquisition of a working vocabulary - is almost a foregone conclusion in many of the texts currently employed in the USSR and other centres. Such texts are required in Malta, where a knowledge -of English is a sine qua non to any advancement in the academic sphere; texts that can be administered by the ordinary teacher, who no longer has to choose his own subject-matter, vocabulary-content and test work but who can confidently base his teaching on proven material. To attempt the composition of such a course, or series of texts, geared to local needs, requires a thorough understanding of the local scene. It has become a common occurrence in post-war years for the visitor to Malta, to make general assumptions, upon leaving the island, on matters, social and economic with but the scantiest of background knowledge. This is the height of rashness and has justly annoyed the knowledgeable Maltese. Accordingly I have taken nothing for granted, and attempted to verify factually views expressed to me as mere opinions; these pages contain an outline of my findings to date, and the lines of investigation I hope to pursue in the future. It is only in securing such information that we can pass any judgement on our local situation and the means to remedy it. I remarked in a similar vein, reporting on a article which appeared in The Bulletin under the title, "On Teaching Foreign Languages to Our Boys and Girls", that "it would be unwise to put forward an authoritative view until actual research data can prove the point either way", and I still maintain this despite the findings of knowledgeable researchers abroad. We must verify these in the light of local conditions. The help of the following is gratefully acknowledged: Chev. J.P. Vassallo, OBE, Director of Education, for permission to work freely in all the schools in his Department; the Head Teachers in all the schools where the SEU Tests and the FORN Survey were carried out for their willing co-operation; Mr. R. Dowling, B.Sc., late of the Dockyard Technical College, for statistical advice; Prof. B. Pattison and Dr. D.M. Lee of the London Institute of Education for many useful suggestions; and my students who helped in the correcting of many test papers, in particular Miss Judy Calleja-Gera and Mr. Philip Tortell; and to Rev. Bro. Hilary, FSC, BA, Dip.
Appears in Collections:Melitensia Works - ERCEduHis

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