Embracing Literacy Strategies and the Language in Education Policy

MQF Level: 7

ECTS Value: 2 ECTS

Self Study Hours: 30

Contact Hours: 10

Assessment Hours: 10


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

This module will give participants an overview of the main theories of learning with a focus on a holistic approach to the teaching of literacy within a balanced literacy approach. Participants will be also introduced to reading development and reading strategies. 


Participants will become familiar with the development of bilingualism within the local educational context and with the theoretical underpinnings to foster bilingualism. Participants will become more knowledgeable about the role of language mediation and translanguaging within Maltese classrooms.

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Reflect on a balanced literacy approach within his/her classroom and how this approach can promote literacy acquisition within the classroom;

b. Deliver literacy lessons with a focus on a holistic literacy approach integrating at least one of the components of a balanced literacy approach;

c. Develop knowledge on theories and latest research pertaining to literacy and language acquisition, and bilingual development;

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

e. Respond to the literacy and language needs of his/her students, and evaluate and adapt his/her teaching and language use accordingly;

f. Ensure students’ home language is acknowledged and celebrated in his/her classroom.


a. Demonstrate an understanding of the main theories of learning;

b. Define reading development and recall specific reading strategies they can implement with their students;

c. Define the teacher’s role in the teaching and learning process focusing on the gradual release model of responsibility;

d. Identify models of bilingual education and their implication for practice;

e. Describe the key theoretical issues underpinning bilingualism and translanguaging;

f. Define the role of language mediation and translanguaging in his/her classroom;

g. Develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the language realities within his/her classroom, and school.


Applying knowledge and understanding

The learner will be able to:

a. Identify and explain the components of a balanced literacy approach;

b. Analyse own classroom practice to determine what balanced literacy components they are implementing in their teaching;

c. Implement at least one component of a balanced literacy approach;

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

e. Evaluate how educators can use language mediation and translanguaging in their classrooms;

f. Evaluate their students’ literacy and language needs through concrete strategies and provisions;

g. Design language and literacy activities which address students’ language needs;

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

i. Evaluate own language learning to enhance their professional growth.

Assessment Methods

This module will be assessed through an Assignment.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
  1. Bodman, S & Franklin, G (2014). Which Book and Why, Institute of Education Press, University of London.
  2. Baker, C. (2011). Foundation of bilingual education and bilingualism(5th ed.). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
  3. Cecil, N. L. (2011). Striking a Balance: A comprehensive approach to Early Literacy. Holcomb Hathaway, United States.
  4. Garcia, O., & C. Sylvan. (2011). “Pedagogies and Practices in Multilingual Classrooms: Singularities in Pluralities.” Modern Language Journal, 95(3), pp.385–400.
  5. 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
  6. Mifsud C.L., Vella L.A. (2018).Teacher agency and language mediation in two Maltese preschool bilingual classrooms, Language, Culture and   Curriculum, DOI: 1080/07908318.2018.1504400
  7. Ministry for Education and Employment, (2014). A National Literacy Strategy for all in Malta and Gozo. Available online:
  8. Ministry for Education and Employment (2015). Country Report. Council of Europe. Available online:
  9. Ministry of Education (2016). A language Policy for the Early Years in Malta and Gozo. Available online:
  10. The Council of Europe (2015). Language Education Policy Profile. Malta. The Language Policy Unit. Available online:
  11. 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
  12. García O., Lin A.M.Y. (2017). Translanguaging in Bilingual Education. In: García O., Lin A., May S. (eds.) Bilingual and Multilingual Education. Encyclopedia of Language and Education (3rd ed.). Springer, Cham. (pp 117-130)
Supplementary Reading List
  1. Camilleri Grima, A. (2013). A select review of bilingualism in education in Malta. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 16(5), 553–569.
  2. Baker, C. (2000). A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism, Multilingual Matters.
  3. Baker, C. & Prys Jones, S. (1998). Encyclopedia of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education.
  4. Caruana, S. (2007). Language use and language attitudes in Malta. In D. Lasagabaster & Á. Huguet Canalís (Eds.), Multilingualism in European bilingual contexts: Language use and attitudes(pp. 184–207). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
  5. Creese, A., & Blackledge, A. (2010). Translanguaging in the bilingual classroom: A pedagogy for learning and teaching? The Modern Language Journal, 94(1), 103–115. 
  6. Rief, S.F. & Heimburge, J.A (2007).  How to Reach and Teach all Children through Balanced Literacy.  John Wiley & Sons Inc. 
  7. Sciriha, L. (2001). Trilingualism in Malta: Social and Educational Perspectives. In International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. 4, 2001, Issue 1, pp. 22 – 37
  8. Serratrice, L. (2013). The Bilingual Child. In Bhatia, T.K. & Ritchie, W.C. (Eds). The Handbook of Bilingualism & Multilingualism, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 87-108.
  9. Tompkins, G.E. (2006) (4th ed.). Literacy for the 21st Century: A Balanced Approach.  Pearson, New Jersey.


Skip to content