It all starts from literacy

These are the types of programmes which have helped us achieve improved literacy rates, reduce early school-leaving and strengthen student attainment figures

The Malta Robotics Olympiad
The Malta Robotics Olympiad

Part of the most important literacy initiatives included in the National Literacy Strategy are the reading recovery programmes. Reading recovery involves a short series of daily one-to-one lessons with a specially trained teacher. Reading recovery is different for every child, starting from what the child knows and what he or she needs to learn next. The focus of each lesson is to comprehend messages in reading and construct messages in writing, learning how to use letter and word detail fluently without losing focus on meaning and comprehension.

These programmes are crucial in identifying children with literacy difficulties early, and help create an outline for a way forward on how to go about addressing it. This identification often goes missing in our education system and we simply expect the child to make for loss of ground by magic. It is also helpful for the educator because it allows one to understand the different levels of attainment and help fill in these gaps.

These are the types of programmes which have helped us achieve improved literacy rates, reduce early school-leaving and strengthen student attainment figures. Literacy is often seen as the most fundamental of principles in education because when literacy is weak, so is the rest.

How technology and education can merge

The Malta Robotics Olympiad is the perfect example of how technology, education and having a fun time can all be under the same roof. Some subjects might seem dreary in textbooks but when they are applied to interesting projects and cool technology, they spring into life. It is great to see children, young people and not-so-young people look at the code behind a robotic movement or solve logic problems in AI scenarios. We need more of this in education, and it should not be limited to the MRO but throughout the year.

In a time and age where engagement in education for young people is so difficult, we have to adapt things to keep bridging the gap. If we persist in the olden ways, the spark of curiosity and interest will simply be replaced by something other than education. I strongly believe this to be the next challenge for the educational system, especially since children today have a phone at their fingertips and a tablet before they have hard shoes.

We can blame it on many things: social media, game consoles, parents and a million other things. But the truth is that engaging young people needs to start from within.

What a football match teaches us

The Tottenham comeback against Ajax earlier this week was the greatest comeback... since the previous night. Liverpool’s night of folly at Anfield against Messi’s Barcelona will become one for the history books. It was indeed a great week for football. I think there’s a beautiful lesson in both comebacks and that in the end, it does not matter how expensive your team is, how likely or unlikely you are to succeed or how difficult the task is, at the end it is about heart and determination. I truly believe that if Liverpool and Spurs didn’t score their respective last goal and didn’t make it through, their supporters would be just as proud.

This is not just a footballing lesson, but a life lesson. Give your heart out in what you do, and you’ll be proud to look yourself in the mirror. It does not matter how ambitious the result is, what truly matters is the determination, heart and grit of your try.

It was a beautiful footballing spectacle which pushed the limits of the imagination, and I suspect the limit of some people’s heart valves. But in the end, as in life, it is giving it all that matters.