THE skies poured with rain, but it did not stop some 25 Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Malacca lecturers from singing “My, oh my, what a wonderful day!” at their Alor Gajah campus in Malacca.
It was indeed a wonderful day for them because they were learning how to inject fun into their English lessons with The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) pullout.
Conducted by trainer Lucille Dass, the workshop showed lecturers how NiE activities make the most of the newspaper as a learning resource.
These ready-made activities are a treasure trove encased in the Star-NiE pullout, published every Wednesday.
The pullout, which comes together with a copy of The Star newspaper, features syllabus-based topics for students in elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. With 33 issues per year, it provides creative ideas and ready-made activities to make language learning exciting and different for students.
“Teaching is never a job – it’s a calling,” said Dass who has had experience teaching as both a teacher and teacher trainer. It was a sentiment shared by the lecturers as they eagerly nodded their heads in agreement.
Despite being lecturers, the workshop participants showed that they had never lost their zeal for learning. There was much fun and laughter as the lecturers actively delved into the hands-on activities.
One of the participants Dr Angeline Vijayarajoo said that the newspaper brings the outside world into the classroom.
“Students get to know about what’s going on in the world. It brings in the local context during English lessons because we’re using foreign books in class.”
“When students write, they need information. It’s like killing two birds with a stone – NiE brings in the knowledge as well as language. The activities also develop their creative thinking skills,” she added.
Another lecturer Mohd Azlan Shah Sharifudin found the workshop interesting as it was a step away from the usual classroom teaching.
“I have used the newspaper in class before but it is usually to find related articles for homework. Today, I learnt that a lot of creative activities can be done by using the newspaper.”
He also added that the usual code of conduct for tertiary students is to just sit and listen to lectures. “This method would be more engaging and would make students more active in class.
“Sometimes when I ask them about current happenings, only a few can tell me. Using the newspaper in class is a way for students to keep abreast with current issues.”
Norimah Yunus who taught in a matriculation college was exposed to the benefits of NiE more than 10 years ago.
“It really helps. I encourage my students to get the newspaper – online or hardcopy. The Star’s Views section gives good argumentative articles for students.”
“I think there are lots of articles that will promote higher order thinking skills. The newspaper allows them to be critical and enables them to see things and facts from different perspectives. Moreover, not everything on the Internet is true. The newspaper will enable them to confirm whether the news is right or wrong.”
“I find that the pronunciation drill at the end is good for improving articulation among students. Overall, the workshop has been very enlightening – it gave me a lot of ideas on how to conduct fun lessons in class.”
For details on the Star-NiE programme, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1 300 88 7827 from Monday to Friday (9am–5pm).