Student teachers were given some invaluable lessons on how the newspaper can be used as a teaching tool in class.
CHARLES Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
While it applies to many different scenarios, this saying also rings true when it comes to conducting a successful classroom lesson.
Knowing no lesson plan is a one-size-fits-all, freelance Star-NiE trainer Mallika Vasugi imparts words of wisdom from her teaching experience to a group of trainee teachers in their final semester.
“You have planned the lesson out beautifully, but from the response of students, you may find that it’s just not working.
“That is why, as a teacher, you sometimes need to modify your lesson on the spot,” she said during a Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) workshop she conducted at the International Languages Teacher-Training Institute (IPBA), Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur.
“You may be assigned into a class where the students may only understand their mother tongue, so you will need to tailor the lesson according to the proficiency of the students,” Mallika added.
The group of trainees at the institute were nearing the completion of their course and were looking forward to the workshop as it gave them the opportunity to experience the session entirely as students.
They participated in the activities with full enthusiasm as the trainer demonstrated different types of fun activities that could be done using the newspaper – from simple ones such as scavenger hunt to the more advanced role playing acts.
Muhammad Khalid Mohd Termizi, one of the trainees, said that the workshop was an eye opener for them.
“Using the newspaper is a good idea. It supplements the textbook and students won’t get bored easily.”
His coursemate Daniel Chiam Chuan Yee said that the workshop was useful, especially to new teachers.
“I think the concept behind NiE is very good. The newspaper is readily available, so this workshop is like a ‘starter-pack’ for us.”
Another trainee, Alicia Lim Wei Ting, said: “It was awesome! I learnt a great deal and I am excited to try them out with my class.
“I gained a lot of ideas for teaching and it will definitely help me in my profession. I also hope to emulate the trainer’s energy.”
Her course mate Banu Piriya Andiappan said that the workshop helped as they experienced it from the students’ point of view.
“The workshop was hands-on and it made us understand how to use the newspaper with our students. It will definitely help us in teaching.”
“Using the newspaper in fun activities reduces anxiety in students because they are uncertain of the language as it is,” she added.
“If we introduce the newspaper in class, perhaps they will learn to approach the newspaper without being prompted.”
To encourage newspaper-reading habits, Mallika suggested that teachers allow their students to read the section they were interested in, even if it was the comics section.
“Different parts of the newspaper appeal to different types of people.
“Let them read whatever interests them because that is how you get them to enjoy reading.
“As they mature, other parts of the newspaper will naturally appeal to them.”
IPBA lecturer Manoharan Nalliah noted that the newspaper had always been an educational resource.
“It provides authentic material which can be fully exploited in the classroom by resourceful teachers.
“The newspaper deals with current situations and has a variety of materials.
“New teachers will find the newspaper resourceful and it will help them in planning interesting lessons,” added Manoharan.
“The English curriculum, uses a thematic approach where students are taught using various themes such as people, social issues and so on.
“The newspaper provides a resource for the various themes. It also has issues related to children and teenagers,” he said.
Star-NiE, he said, had been actively involved in helping teachers use the newspaper in the classroom.
“Many of our teacher trainees are actively using the newspaper in the classroom and many have subscribed to the NiE pullout.
“I hope that The Star will continue its efforts in helping to raise the standard of English in our schools,” Manoharan said.