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A select review of bilingualism in education in Malta Antoinette Camilleri Grima

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Department of Arts and Languages in Education, Faculty of Education, University of Malta, Msida, Malta Version of record first published: 10 Sep 2012.

To cite this article: Antoinette Camilleri Grima (2012): A select review of bilingualism in education in Malta, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, DOI:10.1080/13670050.2012.716813 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2012.716813

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International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 2012, 117, iFirst article

A select review of bilingualism in education in Malta Antoinette Camilleri Grima* Department of Arts and Languages in Education, Faculty of Education, University of Malta, Msida, Malta

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(Received 25 July 2012; final version received 26 July 2012) This article offers a review of some of the major issues of bilingualism in education in Malta. It starts by contextualising the current situation in a historical perspective. From the macro-perspective it then moves to a microperspective to illustrate how, in practice, Maltese and English are used as a bilingual medium of instruction across levels and subjects. It overviews some of the significant dimensions in which these two languages share roles in the teachinglearning process, and gives examples of how code choice fulfils pedagogical, discourse and management functions, paying particular attention to the variety and range of translation switches. It concludes by returning to a number of issues that fuel the continuing national debate about the medium of instruction in local education. Keywords: education; codeswitching; translation; medium of instruction

Bilingual education in Malta The Maltese education system has been bilingual, and at times trilingual, since it was established almost two centuries ago. The political conflict known as ‘the language question’ consisted of a hotly debated argument between pro-English and pro-Italian supporters as to which language should be assigned functions in the administration, and in the end Maltese was declared official language together with English in 1934 (Frendo 1975). The language question started raging in the eighteenth century, and continued to seep into curricular discussions and regulations well into the midnineteenth century (Brincat 2006; Sultana 1997; Zammit Mangion 1992). In some ways its resonance regarding Maltese and English extends to this day. Malta became a British colony in 1800, and English found a place in schools for the first time in 1833. At that time, in spite of the introduction of English, Italian remained the most important language of instruction and of education, while Maltese was officially recognised as the first language of the pupils and guaranteed a place in school (Zammit Mangion 2000), from then up to this day. Schooling was made compulsory in 1925 (Sultana 1992) by which time English had gained more ground to the detriment of Italian. One of the ways in which English became de facto the language of education was through the training of all Maltese Heads of primary schools in the UK. School administrators were obliged to receive their training in the UK as from 1881 and this continued right up to the 1960s (Zammit Mangion 1992). Furthermore, all teacher training in the post-Second *Email: [email protected] ISSN 1367-0050 print/ISSN 1747-7522 online # 2012 Taylor & Francis http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2012.716813 http://www.tandfonline.com

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World War period was conducted by British personnel who administered two residential teacher training colleges in Malta, until the Faculty of Education within the University of Malta took over in 1978 (Darmanin and Mayo 2007). These are some of the background factors that help explain the prevalence of English in the Maltese education system. Needless to say, as Maltese is the first language of over 98% of the local population (National Statistics Office 2007), it has maintained an important place in the school system both as a subject and as a medium. At present, schooling is offered by the state, as well as by the Catholic church school sector which caters for a third of all pupils, and by the privately owned schools which are perceived to be English medium (Farrugia 2009b). Busuttil (2001) provides a detailed case study of language policy in one of the largest church schools in Malta which could be considered as somewhat typical of church schools. This school, which for ethical reasons will be referred to by a nome-de-plume as ‘All Saints School’, was set up in 1903 by a female religious society. For a long time the staff were foreigners. Initially French was the first language of the school. Eventually, English became the international working language of the society, and it also became the school language. Busuttil (2001, 71) quotes the School Magazine’s (1978) special issue on the occasion of the 75th anniversary, in which one testimony said that when English became the school language, ‘woe to any child who even whispered a word in Maltese, she lost her note immediately  but we learned good English!’ This is indicative of what went on in the post-war years, especially in the non-state sector. By then, Italian had been relegated to being taught as a subject in all secondary schools (see Caruana 2012; Gauci and Camilleri Grima 2012), while Maltese and English continued to share roles as a medium of instruction, but with a much stricter Englishonly policy in church and private schools (cf. e.g. Farrugia 2009b; Scerri 2009). Meanwhile, a noticeable increase in the use of Maltese in church schools has taken place in the last two decades. In 1987, the government obliged church schools to abandon the fee-paying policy and to take in pupils by a ballot system which meant that many more Maltese-speaking children from all walks of life started attending church schools (Busuttil 2001). According to the results obtained by Camilleri (1993, 1995) and Scerri (2009), nowadays rather similar contexts for the use of, and attitudes towards, Maltese and English ensue in state and church schools. Research into issues related to bilingualism in education started to be conducted in the 1990s, namely by staff at the Faculty of Education. For instance, Ventura (1991) published a study in which students in different schools, who underwent instruction in science through English, sat for the same version of the test in either Maltese or English. The groups were matched for equivalent abilities, background and preparation. The result was that the ‘performance of the more able in science is independent of the language of the test, but the less able obtain far better results if they take the test in Maltese’ and that ‘there is a cut-off point in the effect of language on achievement’ (17). One of the difficulties emanating from written instruction in English might be related to the readability of the text. Sollars (1988), who conducted research on readability, for instance by taking account of vocabulary and sentence structure, of science textbooks used in the first two years of secondary school, concluded that ‘unless teacher support and guidance are available, an average 12 year old would find it extremely difficult to understand passages suitable for 16 year olds’ (24). In line with this, Farrell and Ventura (1998) after conducting research on word understanding in Physics at sixth form level found that there was a very low correlation between ‘claimed’ and ‘actual’ knowledge of the meaning of words, and

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that learners and teachers often run away with the idea that the language, both technical, as well as non-technical vocabulary that is used within the Physics register, has been acquired, when in fact it has not. Indeed, a difficult vocabulary combined with cognitively demanding task would certainly pose problem for any learner. Bilingualism in education was mentioned for the first time in a national curricular document in 1999 (Ministry of Education 1999). Prior to this publication, there was a national debate for several years, about a number of crucial changes that were being introduced in the national education system, such as inclusion, formative assessment and a language of instruction policy. This process and the curricular recommendations finally published in the National Minimum Curriculum (NMC) (1999) are discussed in Camilleri Grima (2003). The main point of contention between the policy-makers on one hand, and the researchers, educators and teachers on the other, was that a strict English-only medium, as it was being proposed by the authorities, was undesirable and not practical. Notwithstanding this, for secondary level the NMC (Ministry of Education 1999, 82) recommends that, ‘teachers of Maltese, Social Studies, History, Religion and PSD (Personal and Social Development) teach these subjects in Maltese; teachers of foreign languages teach in the language in question; and teachers of the remaining subjects teach in English’, very much in line with a monolingual consciousness (Camilleri Grima 2003). Furthermore, the NMC (1999, 82) states that ‘only in those cases where this poses great pedagogical problems does the NMC accept codeswitching as a means of communication’. In spite of these declarations, the various studies conducted in a variety of schools have shown that in the majority, the NMC of 1999 changed very little or nothing as far as the use of Maltese and English as a medium of instruction is concerned, that is, the teaching and learning process continued to evolve bilingually (e.g. Busuttil 2001; Camilleri Grima 2001a, 2003; Farrugia 2009b). However, one interesting programme was implemented in a primary church school, subscribing to the NMC recommendation for a shift to an English-only medium. It was documented and researched by Farrugia (2009a, 2009b), and for our purposes it is worth noting that such a shift to an exclusive use of English was not the most educationally beneficial policy. It had some disadvantages, amongst which was ‘the discomfort of some pupils’ who ‘held back from asking questions because they were afraid that they would make mistakes or because they were not sure how to ask the question in English’ (Farrugia 2009a, 21). Furthermore, Farrugia (2009b, 104) concludes that ‘primary school pupils might communicate more comfortably and effectively in their first language than in their second when working in groups. Hence, the recommendation for English may not sit well with the promotion of cooperative work’. Another interesting case is that of a church secondary school for boys where the Headmaster tried to implement a bilingual model based on the separation of languages by time. The Head of School declared which days would be Maltesespeaking and which would be English-speaking, but he soon discovered that on the English-speaking days none of the children approached him with whatever difficulties they had. This is a clear ‘silencing’ (Simon 1990) effect that language policies which create a distinction between home and school language have. According to this Headmaster, as soon as this realisation hit him, he abandoned his language separation policy (Head, personal communication 2005). From the point of view of the national educational authorities, the issue of bilingualism in education is not resolved yet. During 2011 a new set of curricular documents were published by the Ministry of Education, inviting another round of

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national consultation on the revised National Curriculum Framework (Ministry of Education 2011). The recommendations of 1999 with reference to medium of instruction do not figure in the 2011 documents. There are references to the issue of bilingualism and the importance of a high level of proficiency by all students in both Maltese and English, but there are no instructions for teachers. Indeed, the process of consultation is still in progress. We will return to the national debate in the final part of this article. In the meantime, following Creese and Martin (2003) we would like to illustrate the importance of ‘exploring ecological minutiae of interactional practices in classrooms’ (Creese and Blackledge 2011, 4) as a means of substantiating our position in the national curricular debate. Accomplishing lessons bilingually In practice, the most conspicuous division of labour between Maltese and English in Maltese classrooms is the spoken/written distinction. English is largely a written language, and Maltese the major spoken means of interaction. Education in Malta is heavily associated with subject teaching that relies almost exclusively on the written text established by the national curriculum and the examination syllabus. Only the Maltese language is examined exclusively in Maltese. National examination questions in Maltese History, Religious Knowledge and Social Studies can be answered in either Maltese or English. In state schools, these three subjects are taught through Maltese and the textbooks are in Maltese, but in church and private schools textbooks are provided in English for these subjects too (e.g. Busuttil 2001). The textbook holds an important position in the teachinglearning process. Martin (1999, 127) emphasises that ‘interaction between teacher, pupils and text constitutes the fabric of the curriculum in the classroom’ and that ‘an investigation of classroom communication patterns is therefore fundamental to an understanding of how the curriculum is realised in the classroom’. As Lemke (1989, 136) explains: The problem of learning through texts is, I believe, fundamentally a problem of translating the patterns of written language into those of spoken language. Spoken language is the medium through which we reason to ourselves and talk our way through problems to answers . . . When we approach written text, we need to be able to do more than just decode letters to sounds . . . To comprehend it we need to be able to paraphrase it, restate it in our own words, and translate its meanings into the more comfortable patterns of spoken language.

In a monolingual classroom environment, the written text is translated into a spoken text in the same language. In a bilingual classroom, there is a further dimension because the language of the written text and the language of the spoken medium are different, and therefore, the monolingual text is paraphrased bilingually. In Maltese classrooms there is continual interaction between the written text in English as the basic point of reference, and the oral discussion in Maltese (with codeswitching) through which participants reiterate, interpret and reinterpret the written text. By using Maltese and codeswitching, participants reason out problems for themselves, and find their ways to the solutions required. As detailed in Camilleri (1993, 1995), the use of textbooks in English means that as part of the teachinglearning process the content is mediated bilingually, in ways that involve ‘the alternative use by bilinguals of two or more languages in the same conversation’ (Milroy and Muysken 1995, 7), or according to a more contemporary viewpoint, by drawing ‘on linguistic

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resources which have been conventionally thought of as belonging to separate linguistic systems . . ., but which may more fruitfully be understood as sets of resources (that) are called into play by social actors’ (Heller 2007, 15). Similarly, the definition of plurilingualism provided by the Council of Europe (Beacco and Byram 2007, 10) refers to ‘the potential and/or actual ability to use several languages to varying levels of proficiency and for different purposes’. More precisely, following the Common European framework of reference for languages (Council of Europe 2001, 168), plurilingual and pluricultural competence is the ability ‘to use languages for the purposes of communication and to take part in intercultural action, where a person, viewed as a social agent, has proficiency, of varying degrees, in several languages and experience of several cultures’. In Maltese classrooms, teachers and learners access the various linguistic resources available to them in order to render the text in English in linguistic ways that are digestible for them so that they can assimilate the content according to their needs, pace and ways of learning. The term ‘translanguaging’ has been introduced in the literature to refer to situations where ‘the input (hearing or reading) is in one language and the output (speaking or writing) in the other’ (Baker 2000, 104). Baker (2000) argues that this might promote a deeper and fuller understanding of the subject matter, as well as helping the learners develop skills in their weaker language. This is a common phenomenon in Maltese classrooms and as argued in Camilleri (1995) contextual variables such as teachers’ own experience at school and their professional training, learners’ home language and subject-specific issues have a role to play in the way and the extent to which two languages are employed as a medium of instruction. With reference to codeswitching in Maltese classrooms, Farrugia (2009a) also found it useful to adopt the matrix language frame model proposed by Myers-Scotton (1993) where, for instance, it is very clear that one language is providing the grammatical frame for codeswitching, and the elements utilised from the other language are adapted to the matrix language structure. This has extremely significant implications for a possible development of a Maltese mathematical register (see Farrugia 2012). By way of illustration, the use of English in an otherwise Maltese spoken context involves: (1) technical terms or subject-specific items, such as ‘area’, ‘square root’, ‘area uncovered’, ‘stem’, ‘photosynthesis’, and also verbs such as ‘to multiply’, ‘to plot’ which have more far-reaching linguistic consequences; (2) vocabulary items that are related to the school register are traditionally used in English, and which have not been assimilated into Maltese, such as ‘teacher’, ‘project’, ‘white board’, ‘homework’, ‘register’ and (3) words normally used in English also outside the classroom such as ‘pocket’, ‘notebook’, ‘file’, ‘ok’ ‘alright’, some of which are assimilated into Maltese and can be written using Maltese spelling rules like ‘alright/orrajt’, and others that retain English spelling even within a Maltese text. The pedagogical functions of codeswitching in Maltese research are related to two very important events in the teachinglearning process: explanation and elicitation. Furthermore, in any one speech act and/or learning event, codeswitching could be fulfilling both a participant-related as well as a discourse-related function (Martin-Jones 1995). In the following example (Example 1) from a mathematics lesson at Year 4 primary (age 9) the teacher switches constantly. When she reads, or repeats what is read from the textbook in English she uses English, and then shifts to Maltese in order to explain, or to make sure that the learners make sense of the sum or problem, and to elicit a reply by the learners (Attard and Spiteri 1998, 79):

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T: The length of three poles is thirty-eight meters. Mela gh ¯ andi three poles, ¯ha npeng˙ihom. (draws on the board) Gh ¯ andi three poles, tajjeb? One, two, three. Kollha f’daqqa huma thirty-eight meters. Pero` qallek li wieh ¯ ed minnhom huwa fourteen point five meters, l-ieh ¯ or eleven point thirty-five meters. X’irrid insib? Dan kemm hu?

T: The length of three poles is thirty-eight meters. So I have three poles, let me draw them. (draws on the board) I have three poles, correct? One, two, three. Altogether they make thirty-eight meters. But, it says that one of them is fourteen point five meters, the other is eleven point thirty-five meters. What do I have to find out? How long is this one?

In Example 1, the teacher first makes a statement in English which echoes the sum written in the book, and then immediately shifts to Maltese as she starts breaking down the sum into steps. She retains the mathematical jargon in English, for example, ‘three poles’, ‘one, two, three’ as she counts and points to the board, ‘thirtyeight meters’ and so on. Interspersed in between the English vocabulary are Maltese phrases whose function is to highlight the steps of the working, for instance, ‘mela gh ¯ andi’ (therefore, I have), ‘h ¯ a npeng˙ihom’ (I’m going to draw them), ‘kollha f’daqqa’ (altogether). At the same time, they point the discourse towards the audience, especially when the teacher asks, ‘tajjeb’ (right?), ‘x’irrid insib’ (what do I have to find?), and elicits, ‘dan kemm hu’ (how long is this one?). Resorting to Maltese, therefore, carries two functions simultaneously: that of marking the steps of working out a sum, while at the same time accommodating the language of the interlocutors. Example 2 is an extract from another Primary Maths lesson where the teacher this time switches to Maltese to elicit a reply from the learners as a means of ascertaining their understanding. In this extract the teacher uses Maltese to ask a clear and specific question, and once she gets the reply from the learners in Maltese she continues to delve deeper into the sum, continuously using a mixed code (Baldacchino 1996): Example 2 (Primary 5, Maths) T: (while writing a list of numbers on the board) Seven hundred fifty, seven hundred, six hundred. Hemmhekk in-numri qegh ¯ din jiz˙diedu jew jonqsu?

T: (while writing a list of numbers on the board) Seven hundred fifty, seven hundred, six hundred. Over there, are the numbers increasing or decreasing?

L: jonqsu

L: decreasing

T: jonqsu. B’kemm qed jonqsu?

T: decreasing. By how much are they decreasing?

L: b’fifty

L: by fifty

On the other hand, there are instances when due to the insistence by a teacher for a reply in English some learners miss their turn. Baldacchino (1996, 68) puts on record an example where a teacher insisted on a reply in English, but when one of the pupils

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(aged 10) was unable to express herself in English as requested, the teacher simply ignored her effort and turned to another learner. This particular learner could provide the correct answer, but participating through Maltese was not allowed: Example 3 (Primary 5, English)

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T: Why do you think he lost his brain Analise? T: Why do you think he lost his brain Analise? L: Gh ¯ ax

L: Because

T: English please

T: English please

L: Issa sew!

L: Oh dear!

T: Come on. Try it. I know you know it. (turns T: Come on. Try it. I know you know it. (turns to another learner). Yes Karen. to another learner). Yes Karen.

Example 3 which took place in a state school tallies perfectly with what Farrugia (2009a, 2009b) observed in a church school where English was enforced as a medium, that is, the fact that pupils tended to remain silent and their participation in classroom activities was compromised. During many other lessons that were recorded and analysed, and where codeswitching was allowed, the spoken interaction between the teacher and the learners involved, among others, discourse functions such as dealing with new and given information, and topic management. In Example 1, the discourse marker ‘mela’ (therefore) in the teacher’s second sentence is an indication that she is about to rehearse the sum. The discourse marker ‘issa’ in Example 4, on the other hand, indicates that the teacher is introducing new information. In fact, at this point, the teacher starts to explain how the activity is going to be conducted. Furthermore, Attard and Spiteri’s (1998, 60) example below (Example 4) is a case in point of how codeswitching is used in parallel with a shift in activity. The extract in Example 4 (Year 4 Primary, Maltese lesson), illustrates how the teacher gives the usual classroom instructions in English as is standard practice in Malta, and then switches to Maltese to conduct the Maltese lesson: Example 4 (Primary 4, Maltese) T: Pencils down. No pencils in your hands, no pencils. Sorry page eight not seventeen. Issa jien ¯ha ngh ¯ id il-kelma umbagh ¯ ad jgh ¯ ollu jdejhom min jgh ¯ id ‘i’ u wara min jgh ¯ id ‘ie’

T: Pencils down. No pencils in your hands, no pencils. Sorry page eight not seventeen. Now I’m going to say the word and then you will put up your hand, those who ‘i’ and after them those who say ‘ie’

A very similar switch that co-occurs with a change in topic and activity was noted during an English lesson at primary school with 9 year olds (Example 5). The teacher shifts from one language to another according to whether she is referring to what the

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textbook question requires (‘put in a suitable word’; ‘day, sunny day’), or to what the learners are doing [‘h ¯ a nara x’gh ¯ amilna’ (let me see what we have done); ‘qalli dan’ (he said), ‘miktuba h ¯ az˙ in’ (is spelt wrongly)], (Attard and Spiteri 1998, 70): Example 5 (Primary 4, English)

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T: Put in a suitable word. a nara x’gh ¯ amilna T: Put in a suitable word. Let me see what we f’dawn issa. (looks at a pupils’ copybook) Day, have done here. (looks at a pupils’ copybook) a sunny day, qalli dan. Sunny miktuba ¯haz˙ in. Day, a sunny day, he said. Sunny is spelt wrongly.

Establishing and maintaining rapport with learners is part and parcel of a teacher’s responsibility in every lesson. Borg (2004, 59) gives several examples of how teacher praise is given in Maltese in what is otherwise an English context. Example 6 (Primary 2, age 7) is taken from an English lesson in a private school where English is predominantly the medium of instruction, and exemplifies how verbal rewards are lavishly offered by the teacher in Maltese: Example 6 (Primary 2, English) T: Well done! Of course we always see a T: Well done! Of course we always see a drummer in a band. Bravu ¯hafna! drummer in a band. Very good boy! T: Bravi. Presents and gifts mean the same T: Very good children. Presents and gifts mean thing. the same thing. T: The past is long ago, the present is?

T: The past is long ago, the present is?

L: now

L: now

T: Prosit

T: Well done

Borg (2004, 59) gives another more elaborate example from another lesson by the same teacher (Example 7): Example 7 (Primary 2, English) T: Let’s see what it’s all about, page fourteen please, ¯haffu. (addresses one pupil) Qisek rag˙ el z˙ gh ¯ ir int, kemm int bravu! Look at him boys, he’s always the first one to be ready!

T: Let’s see what it’s all about, page fourteen please, hurry up. (addresses one pupil) You’re like a young man, what a good boy you are! Look at him boys, he’s always the first one to be ready!

In Example 6, the teacher enhances her rapport by inserting praising words in Maltese such as ‘bravu’ (good boy) and ‘prosit’ (well done) every now and again. In Example 7, after drawing the pupils’ attention to the fact that they need to hurry ‘h ¯ affu’, an order given in Maltese to contrast with the lesson delivery through

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English, she then points to a particular pupil and, again in Maltese, provides an elaborate praise ‘Qisek rag˙ el z˙ gh ¯ ir int, kemm int bravu’ (you’re like a young man, what a good boy you are). Then she turns to the whole class: a change of addressee that is highlighted by a change of code, as she asks the whole class to appreciate the fact that this pupil is always the first to finish. This last piece of teacher talk also instantiates a type of translation switch which is the subject of our next section.

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Translation switching In order to show the range and complexity of translation switching, that is, when the teacher changes code for purposes of rendering an item in one language into another, I will focus on a very brief extract from one lesson. This should serve to illustrate how even within an interactive event lasting no longer than one minute, the participants’ bilingual resources are formally and functionally very dense indeed. It is worth emphasising that teachers and learners do this unconsciously, simply on the basis of their bilingual competence. Furthermore, the lesson I have chosen is that of Social Studies in a state school, a subject taught and examined through Maltese. In spite of this, the teacher, without any inhibition and knowing fully well that I was observing and recording his lesson, makes use of an English poem that fitted very well with the topic he was dealing with. Therefore, when we speak of a bilingual medium of instruction we cannot exclude lessons that are taught through Maltese, and for which textbooks and examinations are set in Maltese, but for which more information can be found in English. This is an example of how teachers and learners use any relevant material they can lay their hands on, irrespective of the language established officially: Example 8 (Secondary 1, Social Studies)

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I divide my analysis of translation switches into two formal categories: explicit translation and non-explicit translation (see Tables 1 and 2). Furthermore, three pedagogical functions for non-explicit translation switching are identified (Table 2), while explicit translation is subdivided into two, depending on whether a metalinguistic marker is present or not. As shown in Table 1, explicit translation refers to those instances where what is uttered in one language is repeated in the other language. When it contains a metalinguistic marker the speaker makes use of forms like ‘which means’, which highlight that a translation or gloss (Example 8, line 24) is being provided. There are instances when a translation equivalent is provided without any metalinguistic marker (Example 8, lines 910). Non-explicit translation refers to those instances where the same idea is reiterated in two languages without it being actually translated. In our data this is subdivided into three functional types: amplification, elicitation and explanation as in the examples provided in Table 2. When the teacher amplifies in Maltese ‘spec˙ i z˙ z˙ iegh ¯ el biha’ (you kind of cuddle it) with reference to ‘a little pet’ he adds information but at the same time he is giving the meaning or in some way translating the word ‘pet’ into Maltese (Example 8, lines 1314, and Table 2). In fact, there is no equivalent word for ‘pet’ in Maltese, and this could be considered as a non-explicit translation or gloss. Similarly, in Example 7, the last code-switch illustrates a non-explicit Table 1.

Explicit translation switching.

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Table 2.

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Non-explicit translation switching.

translation with the function of amplifying the meaning, which in this case is not related to content but is meant to positively highlight learner behaviour. In lines 1618 of Example 8 the teacher chooses Maltese for elicitation purposes, while he unravels the meaning lying in between the lines in the English phrase ‘a little wish’. Rather than using the Maltese equivalent for wish ‘xewqa’, he digs deeper into the meaning which is not stated but implied by the poet, that is, that the seed sprouts. In lines 2123, the teacher gives an explanation in Maltese for the English phrase ‘a little sun’, thus again, without explicitly translating he provides background information which means the same as the English phrase. An example of explicit translation switching without metalinguistic marker used for explanation purposes is given in Example 9 reproduced from Camilleri (1995, 207). This extract (Example 9) is taken from a home-economics lesson at a state secondary school. The teacher is explaining how the silk worm produces the silk: Example 9 (Secondary 4, home-economics) T:: il- . . . silk work which lays up to four T: the . . . silk worm which lays up to four hundred eggs in summer fis-sajf dan jagh ¯ mel hundred eggs in summer in summer it lays ibid erba’ mitt bajda four hundred eggs

Similar examples are reported in Baldacchino (1996) who transcribed and analysed lessons in a Year 5 primary classroom with children aged 10. On one occasion, when moving from an English lesson to a Maltese lesson the class teacher translates the word ‘history’ by using a metalinguistic marker ‘jig˙ ifieri’ (that means), but also with an amplification in order to make a distinction between ‘storja’ (story) that is fictional and ‘storja’ that in English is called ‘history’ because in Maltese ‘storja’

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[‘jig˙ ifieri storja li g˙ rat veru’ (which means a story which really happened) is the same word for ‘history’ (Baldacchino 1996, 57)]:

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Example 10 (Primary 5, Maltese) T: Fabia and Diana will please collect the Pathways*. . . I’d like you to take out your Maltese reading book now and find page one hundred thirty one. Jean, page one three one . . . I want you to look up, because I want to explain why we have chosen this story today. It is history, jig˙ ifieri storja li g˙ rat veru.

T: Fabia and Diana will please collect the Pathways*. . . I’d like you to take out your Maltese reading book now and find page one hundred thirty one. Jean, page one three one . . . I want you to look up, because I want to explain why we have chosen this story today. It is history, which means a story which really happened.

*Title of English textbook

Another example from the same lesson (Baldacchino 1996, 61) instantiates a translation switch, which is metalinguistically marked and provides a gloss or explanation through a meaning equivalent: Example 11 (Primary 5, Maltese) L: Teacher nah ¯ seb li kien hemm mija L: Teacher I think that there were a hundred fil-fortizza (people) in the fortress T: Gh ¯ al kull Malti kien hemm elfejn Tork. T: For every Maltese there were a thousand Kienu outnumbered kif ngh Turks. They were outnumbered as we say in ¯ idu bl-Ingliz˙ . English

On one occasion in the same school, the Assistant Head (AH) of School came to the class with a warning in Maltese to the children about some danger in one area of the school building (Example 12). The teacher immediately repeated the AH warning in English. This is an example of a literal translation, without metalinguistic marker, but unlike the other examples the translation equivalent is provided by a different person (Baldacchino 1996, 53): Example 12 (Primary 5) AH: Good Morning children

AH: Good Morning children

Ls: Good morning, Sir.

Ls: Good morning, Sir.

AH: Attention please. Hemm dik il-gallerija tal-konkos fejn tkunu qed tilagh ¯ bu u qed jaqa’ l-konkos minnha. Tersqux ’l hemm gh ¯ ax perikoluz˙ a.

AH: Attention please. There’s that concrete balcony near where you play and some concrete is falling off. Don’t go near there because it is dangerous.

T: Don’t go over there because it is dangerous. T: Don’t go over there because it is dangerous.

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It is clear that even within exchanges that are less than a minute long several instances of codeswitching can occur, each with particular formal characteristics and pedagogical functions. Indeed, within translation switching itself we have identified a range of types, and various pedagogical benefits, all of which provide ample justification for using bilingual resources in the classroom.

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Discussion From the above, we can say with confidence that whichever language is recommended by the NMC it is highly likely that teachers will code-switch. In Social Studies which is taught and examined in Maltese the teacher found it appropriate and pedagogically useful to enhance the lesson with a poem in English about the topic at hand. In the various lessons observed in many different subjects, at both primary and secondary level in state and church schools the text in English is often paraphrased in Maltese with codeswitching to ascertain learning. In the independent sector where the predominant language is English, teachers make ample use of praise in Maltese to encourage the learners. We have also seen how discourse markers in Maltese like ‘issa’ (now) and ‘mela’ (so) are powerfully employed to structure information and function like signposts throughout the lesson in English. Resolving pedagogical difficulties through codeswitching is a very elaborate and complex phenomenon, which bilingual teachers and pupils perform unconsciously, and which benefits not only the learning process but also the rapport between participants. I shall now outline a number of issues that come to the surface from the micro-level research and that can illuminate the macro-level debate. The first reflection concerns the curricular objective of English language proficiency. It is admitted that English is a very important language, not only because of its international currency and profusion in education worldwide, but also due to its relevance to the tourist industry in Malta. It therefore makes sense to push for better proficiency in the English language. However, the contention lies elsewhere, that is, whether it is fair and practical to enforce an English-only policy across the curriculum or whether it would be better and sufficient to review the teaching of English as a subject. I tend to favour the latter route, but would retain English for written purposes in other subjects, without enforcing non-English language teachers to stick to English for spoken interaction. As I argued in Camilleri Grima (2001b, 2003), use of language in the classroom cannot be separated from the bilingual context outside it. Maltese society moves from one language to another according to interlocutor, topic of conversation and whatever needs to get accomplished. Therefore, it would be unrealistic, to say the least, to expect the ingrained bilingual habits of teachers and learners to change once they step into the school premises. Furthermore, there are solid pedagogical reasons for accepting a bilingual medium of instruction, to the extent that a strict Englishonly (or Maltese-only) policy, even if for identifiable periods of time, could be detrimental to learning. Another aspect of the debate needs to take into account the language attitudes of the stakeholders, and their claims in favour of a bilingual education. According to Scerri (2009), the vast majority of fifth formers assign an instrumental function to English, relating it to success and better opportunities, but they do not seek comfort in the knowledge that they are part of an English-speaking community. Generally, teachers, learners and parents do not wish to exclude either language

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from the school system. On the basis of a parental questionnaire of children attending a private school, Borg (2004) concluded that the majority are in favour of bilingual education because they believe that both Maltese and English are important languages in Malta. Maltese is tied to daily communication, national identity and the professions, while English is the international language, also needed to ‘receive a good standard of education’ as one parent put it. There are reverberations of similar arguments aired in other post-colonial contexts. For instance, in Malaysia (see Tan 2005), the international character of English is emphasised in spite of the fact that English has been indigenised (see Borg 1988), and is used for local functions including cultural ones. However, unlike the situations in Hong Kong (Chan 2002), Ghana (Mfum-Mensah 2005) and Nigeria (Iyamu and Ogiegbaen 2007), in Malta there are much more favourable attitudes to the use of Maltese in education (alongside English). Malta became a full member of the European Union in 2004, and at that point Maltese was also recognised as an official EU language. This has gone some way in promoting the value of Maltese as a language in Malta, as well as elsewhere. Conclusion As far as pedagogy is concerned, Farrugia (2009b) makes it clear that teachers have developed strategies over time involving codeswitching and that therefore, ‘rather than trying to eliminate this situation’, we should ‘look for ways to maximise the effectiveness of linking strategies (111). An outright rejection of codeswitching is unrealistic. However, limiting the use of codeswitching does not make sense because codeswitching is useful not only in cases of great learning difficulty, but also at any moment that bilingual speakers spontaneously access their range of linguistic resources. Shifting to an all-Maltese medium of instruction is not likely to happen, amongst other reasons, because it is undesirable to give up the English heritage in our education system which links us to the rest of the world. On the other hand, as we have seen, a strict English-only policy is not likely to be successful. We have built a strong and valid tradition of bilingualism in our schools, and I would agree with Farrugia (2009b) that what we need to do is to build on our strengths. Drawing on all the linguistic resources that one has should be appreciated as a capital. From a practical point of view we can apply what Busch and Schick (2007, 217) say about the legitimisation of heteroglossic interventions, to Maltese teachers and learners in that it ‘relieves them from the pressure of a single prescribed standard’. After all, as Canagarajah (2007) argues, ‘our pedagogical objective is . . . to develop a repertoire of codes among our students’. In some circumstances, experts have found it appropriate to apply the concept of ‘heteroglossia’ (e.g. Bailey 2007; Mick 2011), while others discuss and investigate the issue as ‘translanguaging’ (He´ lot 2011; Garcı´a 2009) to describe language fluidity and movement (Creese and Blackledge 2011). Garcı´a (2007) puts it very succinctly, ‘If language is an invention, then we must observe closely the way in which people use language, and base our pedagogical practices on that use’ (xiii). I am aware that it will take very long to convince the education administrators of such a stance because unless one is familiar with this kind of paradigm shift it is impossible for them to change their thinking. Unfortunately this is our dilemma; teachers and language-in-education experts, on the one hand, have a feel for the situation that is very much in line with the reality described by He´ lot (2011) and Garcı´a (2007), while on the other hand, politicians

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and education administrators in whose hands is the power to make national curricular recommendations, may still be operating within the monolingualism paradigm.

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