St Joseph Junior Lyceum – Corradino
Teaching about the Malta and the Maltese in the Middle Ages:
Form 2s on Historical Fieldwork and Treasure Hunt – Mdina 27.4.06
History teachers would agree that teaching 12-year olds about the Middle Ages in Malta can prove quite a daunting task. Students might easily be tempted to dismiss this topic as “irrelevant” and primary sources are, unfortunately, not so plentiful.
Micallef, the History teacher in charge of Form 2 classes at St Joseph Boys’ Junior Lyceum, decided to tackle the topic through:
Both activities were carried out in the old capital city of Mdina on Thursday 27th April.
On the morning of 27th April the students of Form 2B and 2D were briefed about the outing by their teacher Mr Micallef and by Mr Tony Pace, History Co-Ordinator at the same school.
Having arrived at Mdina, the students were first shown round the old capital city and asked to “observe”. Briefings were held beside Palazzo De Vilhena, at St Paul’s (Cathedral) Square, St Agatha’s Esplanade and Greeks’ Gate. The fieldwork notes prepared by Mr Micallef came in very handy during these preliminary “on site” explanations.
(If you are interested in carrying out a similar activity, you can view these fieldwork notes at the following URL belonging to the History Website of the Curriculum Department -: http://schoolnet.gov.mt/history/Form2/FWorkMdina/FWorkNotes.pdf)
During the historical briefings a lot of space was given to “incidental teaching”. To take just one example, tourists being such a common sight at Mdina, students were encouraged to reflect on how tourism today is helping the Maltese economy: tourist guides and chauffeurs earn their living directly from the tourist industry while bus drivers’ and even farmers’ incomes are indirectly linked to tourism. It is calculated that about 40% of Maltese workers earn their living directly or indirectly from tourism. It was pointed out that today tourism is as important to the Maltese economy as the Dockyard was 50 years ago.
All students agreed that the recent paving project at Mdina was very ‘worthwhile’ because unsightly wires had been removed and Mdina looks far more attractive.
At the Cathedral Archives, the students had the rare opportunity of taking a close look at the Militia List of 1419-20.
(Photo shows students examining the Militia List).
Through a series of questions, Mr Micallef and Mr Pace led students onto a better awareness of Medieval issues, historical concepts and skills. Examples of such concepts and skills were:
Students simply couldn’t stop asking questions:
If you are interested in the MILITIA LIST visit the Curriculum Department’s History Website at: ..\..\wirt\Dejma\ListaMilizjaNOTI.htm
The last activity for the morning was a treasure hunt prepared by Mr Micallef. Students were divided into teams consisting of three students each, then given a set of papers with clues which they were to solve and complete in the least possible time. It was an exciting finale to a day in which History came alive and History teaching became more effective! It was a hands on experience which many students appreciated not least because it was unusual and physically tiring!
You can view Treasure Hunt Notes at: