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Title: Teaching Maltese as a second language to adults
Author: Saliba, C. D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 9750
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2015
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An increasing number of foreigners are coming to live on the Maltese Islands, especially after Malta joined the EU in 2004. For this reason, the country's Directorate for Lifelong Learning organises Maltese language courses for foreigners, specifically, the Malta Qualifications Framework Levels 1 and 2. However, many foreign learners complain about the overemphasis on grammar in these courses at the expense of their more urgent need to learn conversational Maltese. Therefore, this study investigated whether the courses met the learners' expectations in terms of the syllabi, teaching methods and learning materials. It also examined the teachers' needs, considering their key role in the success of course delivery and varying levels of training. Combined quantitative and qualitative research methods were employed to acquire the appropriate breadth and depth of information. Two questionnaires (one each for teachers and learners) surveyed their perceptions and suggestions for course improvement, complemented by face-to-face, semi-structured interviews, which sought more in-depth, qualitative information. Keen insights from two informant sources and different research instruments revealed syllabus-based, course discrepancies and unfulfilled requirements regarding content and delivery. The findings validated the students' criticism about the excessive focus on grammar, inadequate attention to the development of speaking skills, and the learning materials' failure to satisfy both learners' and teachers' needs and expectations. The teachers' requirements were also not addressed, given that the majority lacked training in teaching Maltese as a second language/foreign language (MSL/MFL). Based on the research results and other input from learners and teachers, three syllabi for MSL courses and the Maltese for Foreigners series were produced to cater to specified learning needs. Teaching and learning MSL/MFL is an emerging educational area demanding considerable work towards standardisation to attain the professional status it deserves. This PhD dissertation is the first step in that direction, which should be continued by relevant further research.
Supervisor: Lamb, T. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available