The left side of the brain has historically been thought to be the centre of language processing during language acquisition. However, current research indicates that the right brain plays an important initial role in assisting learners to identify the fundamental sounds related to a language. Therefore, by merely familiarising a student with the way a language sounds may be incredibly beneficial while they are just beginning to learn a language, besides its advantages at any other level of language acquisition. The focus of this research was to uncover teaching approaches that promote adult student success in learning Maltese as a foreign language by enhancing the learner's right brain. This study included twenty-seven educators who teach Maltese as a foreign language to adults in a qualitative case-study focus group. The educators identified engaging teaching methods that they use with Primary, Secondary and middle school students that could be used with adults to stimulate the right brain through visual culture. These techniques included: using visuals to design flashcards to assist visual learners remember vocabulary words; using the memory palace approach, which draws on visual cues and spatial memory; and watching a Maltese movie or play to expose the student to the language sounds. This study shows that the majority of teachers feel that visual culture is extremely important in the learner's success, particularly during the early stages of Maltese as a foreign language acquisition, and how this could be applicable to any other foreign language learning.
Jacqueline Zammit, University of Malta, Malta