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SOCIAL BACKGROUND AND READING COMPREHENSION OF ENTERING TEACHER EDUCATION CANDIDATES

Abstract

The educational attainment of the Maltese population is lower than in other European countries and the number of post-secondary graduates is lower than in most other European Union countries. The development of human capital represents the key factor of national social and economic development. In such a situation, schoolteachers are crucial in supporting children to achieve their potential and in this way contribute to national development. To achieve this mission, teachers need wide professional knowledge and, in Malta as a bilingual country, they need strong communication skills in Maltese as well as in English. This study examined the impact of student social background on the literacy competences of entering teacher education candidates. This study found a wide variation in these participants’ English language comprehension skills and some association with the type of school attended that could be related to social background.