Language Development: Use and Function in a Bilingual Class

MQF Level: 7

ECTS Value: 1 ECTS

Duration: 2 Sessions

Contact Hours: 5

Self Study Hours: 12

Assessment Hours: 8


Module Description

During this module, participants will become familiar with bilingual development within the local educational context. Participants will become familiar with the theoretical underpinnings to foster bilingualism and will become more knowledgeable on the role of language mediation and translanguaging within Maltese classrooms.

The module will focus on the following key areas:

  1. Bilingual development and education within a local context;
  2. Models of bilingual education to foster bilingualism;
  3. Key theoretical issues underpinning bilingualism and translanguaging;
  4. The role of language mediation and translanguaging in the bilingual classroom.

Overall Objectives and Outcomes

By the end of this module, the learner will be able to:


a) Focus on theories and latest research pertaining to language acquisition and bilingual development; 

b) Reflect on language use within his/her classroom and how this can promote bilingual development in learners within the classroom; 

c) Respond to the language needs of his/her students, and evaluate and adapt his/her teaching and language use accordingly; 

d) Ensure students’ home language is acknowledged and celebrated in his/her classroom and within an Nwar setting or other similar intervention programmes.


a) Develop an awareness of language education policies and their implication for practice;

b) Demonstrate an understanding of the theories of language acquisition and bilingual development;

c) Define the role of language mediation in his/her classroom and within an Nwar setting or other similar literacy intervention programmes;

d) Develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the language realities within his/her classroom, school, home and/or within an Nwar setting or other similar literacy intervention programmes.


a) Assess their language use (oral and written) within their classroom and its implications for children’s bilingual development; 

b) Evaluate how educators can use language mediation and translanguaging in their classrooms; 

c) Evaluate their students’ language needs through concrete strategies and provisions; 

d) Design language and literacy activities which address students’ language needs; 

e) Create a learning environment ensuring that language is not a barrier for students to access the curriculum; 

f) Evaluate their language learning to enhance their professional growth. 

Mode of Delivery

This module adopts a blended approach to teaching and learning. Information related to the structure and delivery of the module may be accessed through the IfE Portal. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures found on the Institute for Education’s website.

Assessment Methods

This module will be assessed through: Assignment

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List

1) Mifsud C.L., Vella L.A. (2018) To Mix Languages or Not? Preschool Bilingual Education in Malta. In: Schwartz M. (eds.) Preschool Bilingual Education. Multilingual Education, Vol 25. Springer, Cham 

2) Mifsud C.L., Vella L.A. (2018) Teacher agency and language mediation in two Maltese preschool bilingual classrooms, Language, Culture and Curriculum, DOI: 10.1080/07908318.2018.1504400 

3) Ministry of Education (2016). A language Policy for the Early Years in Malta and Gozo. 

4) Vella, L. A., Mifsud, C.L. & Muscat, D. (2018). Language use in Early Childhood Education Years in Malta. A Report. National Literacy Agency, Ministry for Education and Employment, Malta 

Supplementary Reading List

1) Baker, C. (2011). Foundation of bilingual education and bilingualism (5th ed.). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 

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

3) Creese, A., & Blackledge, A. (2010). Translanguaging in the bilingual classroom: A pedagogy for learning and teaching? The Modern Language Journal, 94(1), 103–115. 

4) Sciriha, L. (2001) Trilingualism in Malta: Social and Educational Perspectives. In International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Vol. 4, 2001, Issue 1, pp. 22 – 37

5) The Council of Europe (2015). Language Education Policy Profile. Malta. The Language Policy Unit. Available online:

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