Classroom connection

Fresh teaching ideas: Norasiah (second from right) regards the newspaper as a great tool for language learning as there is always something for students with different proficiency levels.

Fresh teaching ideas: Norasiah (second from right) regards the newspaper as a great tool for language learning as there is always something for students with different proficiency levels.

NiE injects more fun and brings students together during English lessons.

MONOTONY during class lessons can lead to a lack of interest among students. But one way of grabbing the learners’ interest and attention is by incorporating the use of the newspaper.

English teacher Norasiah Mohamad firmly believes that it is an effective tool citing the activities in The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) pullout as a welcome break for her students because it is not the traditional way of learning.

“The students love cutting and pasting, so they’re very happy when we have an NiE session,” says the teacher from SM Teknik Kuala Lumpur.

The 12-page NiE educational pullout comes with a copy of The Star newspaper every Wednesday. It is written by a team of experienced English language teachers and specialists, featuring a range of fun-filled activities for the classroom.

Norasiah said that the newspaper gives her fresh teaching ideas. “Moreover, the activities can be modified to suit the proficiency level of students.”

Scrapbooks by students of SM Teknik Kuala Lumpur done in conjunction with Merdeka and Malaysia Day. The scrapbook was done with newspaper clippings from The Star newspaper.
Scrapbook splendour: As part of an NiE class activity, the students came up with creative and colourful ideas for their National Day scrapbook covers.

“Sometimes, before we start the class, we would start a conversation about the headlines in the newspaper. It’s a good induction for an English lesson. I would also ask them to cut articles and highlight difficult words. They can then add to their vocabulary this way.”

“I had a student who would regularly copy a sentence or phrase that she found interesting from the newspaper into a book. When I looked at the book, there were already about 500 phrases and sentences. She would find out the meaning of these phrases and try to use them in her essays.”

Norasiah says that students who like to read tend to write better. “And the newspaper can be read anywhere. They don’t have to be in class to learn English.”

She also notes that students have different types of intelligence that influence their way of learning. “Students with visual intelligence, for example, will benefit from the comic strip of the novel in their literature component – Step by Wicked Step. The illustrations will help students understand the story.”

With only Forms Four and Five students, the boarding school with its serene surroundings has been bustling with NiE activities. More recently it took on a festive air with students from Form Four Civil Three incorporating songs to make their English Language presentations even more fun and interesting.

Student Che Aina Husna, says that her previous school did not use NiE as a tool in the classroom. She is new to the experience but finds it enjoyable.

“Learning English is always exciting for me. We need it for the future. In order to further one’s studies overseas, it is important to communicate with other people.

“Even on the Internet, English is widely used. I like English because I can enjoy watching online videos that are mostly in the language.”

Classmate Muhammad Imran Rosman says that the NiE activities have so far been wonderful as they allowed him to interact and work together with his friends. “The newspaper has a lot of content. I always get to learn the meaning of new words.

“In a multiracial society, English is a common language. When we go to other countries, it will be very helpful,” he says.

“It will also help us when we go for job interviews. Proficiency in English is a must if you want to secure a good job,” he adds.

For a boarding school, the newspaper is a window to the outside world as students leave the school grounds only during the weekends. “The newspaper provides news about current issues.”

English panel head Khairiyah Kassim said that English is important for students wanting to further their studies. “When they go out to work, English is a must for them.”

“Reading the newspaper also adds to their general knowledge, while improving their grammar at the same time.” she added.

Assisting with the NiE session is one of the advisors of the English Language society Leela Rani Bachan Singh. She finds that NiE activities work very well for society meetings. “We have more time and freedom to conduct the activities.”

“In class, I would sometimes ask students to cut out articles and read them aloud. The articles are short and it’s just a piece of paper, so the task seems less daunting. Somehow it works for them. It helps with pronunciation,” she adds.

Supportive of the programme, principal Fariza Said Hassan says that the newspaper provides students with opportunities to improve their English.

“English is the international language. In the Internet era, one can easily Google for information. If one were to rely only on Bahasa Malaysia, information written in this language is limited, especially when it comes to science topics.

“The language gives students the competitive edge when applying for scholarships overseas.”

Fariza adds that the NiE programme encourages collaboration between the English teachers.

The NiE pullout is a syllabus-based resource for teachers that is supported by the Education Ministry. NiE is only available through school subscription. For more information, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1 300 88 7827 from Monday to Friday (9am-5pm).

NiE , SM Teknik KL