History of the GTA

 

ELEVEN YEARS OF ACTIVITIES

 2000-2011

Anton Quintano (Secretary)

 

Foundation

 The Geography Teachers Association (Malta) was founded on 28 February 2000 at a meeting for all Geography and Primary teachers in Malta that was held at the Guidance and Counseling Centre of the Education Division, Granaries Square, Floriana. Thirty-two members joined the newly founded non-governmental organisation on that first meeting. The statute that was drafted by the ad hoc organising committee was largely approved and a first committee was elected to further the aims of the Society by organising suitable activities. That first meeting was addressed by Dr Joseph Mangani, then Education Officer, Geography, as well as by Miss Mary Vella and Mr Carmel Galea Scannura, both Directors of Education, who promised support and encouraged the founding members. Geography and primary school teachers, ex-teachers of Geography, student-teachers or lecturers of Geography at university may join as full members. Any other person who is interested in Geography may join as associate member. The main aims of the association are to organise activities for the further professional development of teachers of Geography and to foster general interest in the subject.

Committee meetings

 According to the statute an Annual General Meeting must be held before the end of April, and the committee is elected for a two year term in a Bi-Annual General Meeting. Dr Joseph Mangani as President, Mr Avertano Rolé as Vice-President, Anton Quintano as Secretary, Rita DeBattista as Treasurer and Edward Gilson as Vice Secretary have kept their posts throughout the ten years. Nine other members served in the committee one time or another. The committee was always very active and met regularly for a total one hundred and twenty-two times till August 2011, that is once every five weeks on average, mostly at the Curriculum Centre at Floriana, with the kind permission of the Directors of Curriculum.

International Affiliation and Participation

 The GTA is in contact with the European network of Geography teachers associations – Eurogeo. To date three of our members have attended conferences organised by Eurogeo. In 2001 Edward Gilson took part in the conference on I.T. in Europe: I.T. supporting the teachers of European citizenship through Geography held at Liverpool, England. In 2003 Moira Buttigieg participated in the conference held at Bled, Slovenia about Geographical Information in a Changing Europe. Two years later Rosette Thomas was sent by the society to Torun in Poland for the conference Changing horizons in Geography. Once again the Department of Curriculum management and e-Learning helped the society by sponsoring the participants. It is unfortunate that such financial support was no longer forthcoming since 2005.

Annual General Meetings and Lectures

 Since the Geography Education Officer and Heads of Department organise In-Service Training Courses regularly, the GTA bases its activities on excursions in the field. However, lectures are still organised, mostly in conjunction with the AGMs. The following were lectures organised by the Society:

Date Lecturer Lecture title
16 Feb 2001 Eng. Robert Farrugia Wind Energy in Malta
22 Feb 2002 Peter Gatt Geology of the Maltese Islands
28 Feb 2003 Ernest Azzopardi Integrated Water Management in Malta
22 May 2003 Albert Ganado Old Maps of Malta
27 Feb 2004 Louis Cassar Dune Morphology
25 Feb 2005 Keith Buhagiar Cave dwellings in Malta
23 Feb 2006 Sandro Lanfranco Dune studies at the Maremma
2 Feb 2007 Vincent Caruana Poverty and environment in developing countries
8 Feb 2008 Sharon Rolé e-learning
13 Feb 2009 Eng. Marco Cremona Problem of Water Supply in Malta
18 Mar 2009 Gordon Knox Problem of Water Supply in Malta
30 Apr 2010 Paul Pace The Copenhagen WSSC Conference
24 Nov 2010 Eng. Marco Cremona Experience Everest
29 Apr 2011 Tony Pace Wied Hanzir (Gozo) archaeological excavations

 

Publications

 Another regular contribution by the association has been the circulation of a set of papers concerning the content and methodology of Geography teaching. These resource papers are circulated to members at each AGM. From 2002 to 2006 these articles were circulated in photocopied and bound form, but since 2007 they have been issued in CD or DVD format. To date eight such collections have been circulated including thirty-seven different original articles by highly qualified teachers and lecturers of Geography or associated disciplines, and they have always been highly popular with Geography teachers. Edward Gilson, a committee member, has published three interactive CD Roms covering the Social Studies Primary School syllabus.

Excursions

 As has already been mentioned above, excursions have been the mainstay of our Association’s activities. Since its inception August 2011, the committee has organised no less than fifty-five excursions. Teachers of Geography have shown great dedication by attending these excursions mostly on Sunday afternoons that is outside school hours. The atmosphere is relaxed and familiar. The general public also participates regularly. The following is a chronological list in table form of all the excursions, including active participant.

Date Place Active participant
     
7 May 2000   Hofret ir-Rizz Josianne Vassallo
26 Nov 00   Lower Ras il-Qammieh Tano Rolé
16 Feb 01   Energy Technology Institute (M`Xlokk) Robert Farrugia
1 Apr 01   Wied Qirda Edwin Lanfranco
27 May 01   Ghar il-Kbir Dr Paul Mangani
9 Dec 01   Wied tas-Santi Tano Rolé
14 Apr 02   Argotti Botanic Gardens Joseph Buhagiar
2 Jun 02   Xemxija garrigue and archaeology Joseph Buhagiar   /Fr Eugene Teuma
4 Aug 02   Limestone Heritage Emanuel Baldacchino
17 Nov 02   Wied Liemu Anton Quintano
15 Dec 02   Il-Maqluba Tano Rolé
25 Apr 03   WSC Luqa and ta’ Kandja WSC personnel
4 Jul 03   Ghar Dalam Dr Charles Galea Bonavia
26 Nov 03   National Library old atlases Maroma Camilleri
14 dec 03   Fomm ir-Rih / Ra sir-Raheb John J. Agius
8 Feb 04   Il-Hofriet  (Island and Cyclops Bays) Peter Gatt
6 Jun 04   Ghar tal-Latmija / Torri l-Ahmar Anton Quintano    /Tano Rolé  /  Jay Jones
12 Jul 04   MEPA Carol Agius
19 Dec 04   Tax-Xarolla Windmill George Sammut
20 Mar 05   Afforestation Project Ahrax Antoine Gatt
24 Apr 05   Is-Simblija trogloditic village Keith Buhagiar
29 May 05   Il-Munqar, Zurrieq Tano Rolé
6 Nov 05   Olive Groves and press Fawwara Joseph Borg
11 Dec 05   Ix-Xaghra l-Hamra, Manikata Edwin Lanfranco
29 Jan 06   Wied il-Ghasel, Mosta Dr Joseph Borg
23 Apr 06   Wied il-Kbir, Qormi Dr Joseph Borg
21 May 06   Xghajra coast Dr Joseph Mangani
26 Jul 06   Filfla Tano Rolé
26 Nov 06   Wied Għollieqa Nature Reserve Analise Falzon
10 Dec 06   Ghadira Nature Reserve Ray Vella
4 Mar 07   Migra l-Ferha / Ras id-Dawwara Tano Rolé
15 Apr 07   Ghadira ta’ Sarraflu / Hondoq ir-Rummien (Gozo)  Dr Joseph Mangani
  20 May 07   Mtahleb – Bahrija clay slopes Tano Rolé
  24 Jun 07   Comino Tower Dr Stephen Spiteri
  9 Dec 07   Ir-Ramla tat-Torri l-Abjad Tano Rolé
  16 Mar 08   Simar Nature Reserve (SPB) David Attard
  11 May 08   Underground Flour Mill, Mistra Oliver Mallia
  15 Jul 08   Round Gozo by boat  
  26 Oct 08   Fort St Elmo   Anton Quintano
  16 Nov 08   Selmun   Paul Borg
  14 Dec 08   Ghar Lapsi / Maghlaq Fault   Tano Rolé
  8  Feb 09   Bingemma   Dr Joseph Borg
  29 Mar 09   Wied is-Sewda   Dr Joseph Borg
  7 Jul 09   St Pauls Bay Fish Farm   Joseph Azzopardi
  5 Oct 09   Wied Bassasa and Wied Fulija   Tano Rolé
  13 Dec 09   Wied tal-Imgiebah   Paul Borg
  28 Dec 09   Arkivji Nazzjonali – Sptar Santu Spirtu   Joseph Amodio
  28 Feb 10   Wied Żnubier u Moqbol   Tano Role’
  9 May 10   Xagħra and Xlendi   Dr Joseph Mangani
  26 Jun 10   Għajn Tuffieħa GAIA foundation   Daniela Agius
  15 Jul 10   Filfla   Tano Role’
  12 Dec 10   Frate Jacoba cultivations   Franciscan Minor Frairs
  30 Jan 11   Xrobb l-Għaġin Park   Annalise Falzon
  6 Mar 11   Majjistral Park   Annalise Falzon
  17 Apr 11   Wied Qannotta   Joseph Gauci

 

The average participation is about thirty persons for every excursion. The feedback by the teachers was invariably positive. These activities had the desired effect in that many teachers later found time to accompany their own students to these places for fieldwork excursions organised by their respective schools.

Conclusion

 Many voluntary societies such as the Geography Teachers Association have had a short life span because they were dependent on a few active members who could not stay on for good. Our association includes more than fifty paid members. It also includes hard working committee members that sacrifice their own time and energy to organise activities to further the aims of the society and be of service to teachers, students and the discipline of geography itself. Their greatest satisfaction would be to see more teachers of geography participating in these activities and hand down to a younger generation of leaders a Society that is still very vibrant with activity and achievement.