When migrant learners are Italian: perceptions of learning support educators on the inclusion of Italians in Maltese schools

Authors

  • Barbara Baschiera
  • Sandro Caruana

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.7346/SIRD-022020-P151

Keywords:

Malta, Italian migrant learners, Learning Support Educators, Language, Socialisation, Inclusive pedagogies

Abstract

In this paper we first provide an overview of recent Italian migration to Malta and we then focus our attention on the experiences and perceptions of 42 Learning Support Educators (LSEs) in relation to the inclusion of Italian learners in Maltese secondary, primary and pre-primary schools. Through quantitative findings from a questionnaire and qualitative reflections based on three focus groups we investigate linguistic and socialisation issues, as well as pedagogical practices, and how these lead to the inclusion of Italian nationals in Maltese schools. Results indicate that inclusion in a bilingual schooling system, characterised by the interplay between English and Maltese, presents several challenges for Italian students.
While knowledge of English is highly important for their scholastic attainment, Maltese has a fundamental role too especially for socialisation. Problems with language competence also lead to other difficulties. In a system which is often geared towards achieving results in high-stakes examination and in which students are ranked on the basis of achievement, a rethinking of some of the principles that guide education is required, through inclusive pedagogical paradigms based on discovering and giving value to the educational potential of all learners.

References

Bartlett, L. (2015). Access and Quality of Education for International Migrant Children [online]. Paper commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2015, Education for All 2000-2015: achievements and challenges, 1-28. URL: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000232474. (accessed on 23rd August 2020).

Baschiera, B., Tanti Burlò, E., Calleja, C., Camilleri, L. & Tessaro, F. (2016). Il profilo delle competenze nella percezione dei curricoli formativi delle professionalità educative di supporto. Una prospettiva comparata tra Italia e Malta. Perceived competencies of Learning Support educators: A comparative Study between Malta and Italy. Formazione & insegnamento, 14, 219-241.

Bennett, M. J. (2004). Becoming interculturally competent. In J.S. Wurzel (Ed.), Toward multiculturalism: A reader in multicultural education (pp. 62-77). Newton, MA: Intercultural Resource Corporation.

Brincat, J. M. (2011). Maltese and other languages. A Linguistic History of Malta. Malta: Midsea.

Camilleri, A. (1995). Bilingualism in Education. The Maltese Experience. Heidelberg: Julius Groos Verlag.

Camilleri Grima, A. (2013). A select review of bilingualism in education in Malta. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 16(5), 553-569.

Caruana, S. (2011). Bilingualism and language policy in Malta. In P. Ramat & E. Miola (Eds.), Language contact and language decay. Socio-political and linguistic perspectives (pp. 11-46). Pavia: IUSS.

Caruana, S. (2013). Italian in Malta: a socio-educational perspective. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 16(5), 602-614. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2012.716816.

Caruana, S. (2018). Nuove prospettive per l’italiano a Malta: società e scuola. [Paper presentation] Terzo Convegno Internazionale di Linguistica e Glottodidattica Italiana (CILGI3), L’italiano in contesti plurilingui: contatto, acquisizione, insegnamento. Ruhr-Universitat Bochum. October 11-13.

Caruana, S., Scaglione, S. & Coposescu, L. (Eds.), (2013). Migration, Multilingualism and Schooling in Southern Europe. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholar Publishers.

Caruana, S., Scaglione, S. & Vassallo Gauci, P. (2019). Multilingualism and the inclusion of migrant learners in Maltese schools. In C. Bezzina & S. Caruana (Eds.), Teacher Education Matters: transforming lives, transforming schools (pp. 330-343). Malta: University of Malta.

Council of the European Union (2019). Council Recommendation on the 2019 National Reform Programme of Malta and delivering a Council opinion on the 2018 Stability Programme of Malta. URL: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legalcontent/EN/TXT/?qid=1560258570408&uri=CELEX%3A52019DC0518 (accessed on 20th August 2020).

Elliott, V. (2018). Thinking about the coding process in qualitative data analysis. The Qualitative Report, 23 (11), 2850-2861.

European Commission (2019). Education and Training Monitor. Education and Training Country analysis. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. URL: https://ec.europa.eu/education/sites/education/files/-document-library-docs/volume-2-2019-education-and-training-monitor-country-analysis.pdf (accessed on 17th August 2020).

Favaro, G. (Ed.) (2013). Bussole sul cammino. Milano: Centro Come.

Fondazione Migrantes. (2018). Rapporto italiani nel Mondo 2018. Todi: Editrice Tau.

Fondazione Migrantes. (2019). Rapporto italiani nel Mondo 2019. Todi: Editrice Tau.

Garcia, O. (2009). Bilingual Education in the 21st Century. A Global Perspective. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Garcia, O. & Li Wei. (2014). Translanguaging. Language, Bilingualism and Education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Iorio, M. (2019). Scenari migratori nell’era della crisi economica: gli italiani a Malta. In F. Salvatori (Ed.), L’apporto della Geografia tra rivoluzioni e riforme. Atti del XXXII Congresso Geografico Italiano, 2011-2018. Rome: Associazione dei geografi italiani (A.Ge.I.).

Johnson, B., & Christensen L. (2004). Educational research. Quantitative, qualitative and mixed approaches. New York: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.

Macaro, E. (2009). Teacher use of codeswitching in the second language classroom: Exploring optimal use. In M. Turnbull & J. Dailey-O’Cain (Eds.), First Language Use in Second and Foreign Language Learning (pp. 35-49). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Ministry for Education and Employment (2014). Framework for the Education Strategy for Malta: 2014-2024. Sustaining foundations, creating alternatives, increasing employability. MEDE: Malta. URL: https://education.gov.mt/strategy/Documents/BOOKLET%20ESM%202014-2024%20ENG%201902.pdf (accessed on 20th August 2020).

Ministry for Education and Employment (2019a). A Policy on Inclusive Education in Schools. Route to Quality Inclusion. MEDE: Malta. URL: https://meae.gov.mt/en/Public_Consultations/MEDE/Documents/A%20Policy%20on%20Inclusive%20Education%20in%20Schools%20%20Route%20to%20Quality%20Inclusion%E2%80%8B.pdf (accessed on 20th August 2020).

Ministry for Education and Employment (2019b). A National Inclusive Education Framework. MEDE: Malta. URL: https://meae.gov.mt/en/Public_Consultations/MEDE/Documents/MEDE_Inclusion_Framework_A4_-v2.pdf (accessed on 20th August 2020).

Palazzo, T. (2020). L’esperienza di studenti italiani nelle scuole maltesi e la percezione degli insegnanti nei loro confronti [Master in Teaching and Learning (MTL) dissertation]. Malta: University of Malta.

Panzavecchia, M. & Little, S. (2020). Beyond words. Language hybridity in postcolonial multilingual classroom environments: Malta’s way forward. In V. Anderson & H. Johnson (Eds.), Migration, Education and Translation. Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Human Mobility and Cultural Encounters in Education Settings (pp. 161-173).

London: Routledge.

Pugliese, R. (2018). Classe multietnica o internazionale? Categorizzazioni e educazione linguistica. In C. M. Coonan (Ed.), La didattica delle lingue nel nuovo millennio: le sfide dell’internazionalizzazione (pp. 33-56). Venezia: Edizioni Ca’ Foscari.

Saldaña, J. (2016). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. London: SAGE.

Tessaro, F. (2012). Fondamenti pedagogici per una Glottodidattica Speciale. Educazione linguistica, 2, 31-42.

Downloads

Published

2020-12-11

How to Cite

Baschiera, B., & Caruana, S. (2020). When migrant learners are Italian: perceptions of learning support educators on the inclusion of Italians in Maltese schools. ITALIAN JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, (25), 151-164. https://doi.org/10.7346/SIRD-022020-P151

Issue

Section

Experience