Good discussions, stimulating activities and great food! That about describes the recent Star-NIE workshop in Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan. For half a day last week, 32 primary and secondary school teachers assumed the roles of students as Star-NiE trainer Teh Soo Choon guided the group through various Newspaper in Education (NiE) activities that may used in the classroom.
Though the group were initially quiet and reserved, things slowly got going and by mid-morning, most had rolled up their sleeves, ready to get their hands dirty. Armed with glue, scissors and copies of The Star, the teachers tried to outdo each other in getting the exercises done first.
For many, the workshop was their initiation into NIE and proved an eye-opener into the use of alternative material in the classroom. As a result, Teh took the teachers through the entire newspaper – showing them how the different sections (from articles in the various sections of the paper to photographs, to advertisements and even the classified listings) can be used to teach various aspects of the language.
One teacher who was inspired to use NiE in the class was secondary school teacher Mohamed Zakir.
“This has been the best workshop I have attended. It is very activity-based and this is what students prefer. I have attended many other workshops but the focus has always been on reading. I find students are fed up of reading-based activities as they get enough of it already. This is my first Star-NiE workshop and I have enjoyed all the activities thoroughly. They will definitely appeal to my students. Many of them are weak in grammar and I think these activities will be helpful,” said the teacher from SMK Long Yunos In Bachok, Kelantan.
Organised jointly by Star Publications (M) Bhd and the Kelantan State Education Department, the workshop was co-sponsored by Hotlink from Maxis.
For Zulkifli Yahaya, the workshop was useful for all levels.
“It is especially useful for language teachers. Teachers should take the initiative and come up with their own activities based on the ones we were shown here. I hope this will be an annual activity and I hope Star-NiE will include examination topics and activities related to the literature component in as well,” he said.
Though the workshop was held on a Saturday (their off day), the teachers did not complain as they came away with a wealth of new ideas to get their students busy in class. Plus, the food served up by the Centre's in-house caterers was delicious, to say the least.
“The workshop was good and the activities were all very creative. We would like to attend more NIE-workshops but please let them be on a school day,” joked teacher Azman Hassan from SMK Abdul Samad in Pulai Chondong.