Language learning can be fun and exciting when a teacher is armed with the right ‛gadgets’.
A teacher’s tools of the trade consists of their techniques and activities for the classroom - and every teacher ought to have a toolbox.
“What’s in your toolbox?” asked Star-NiE freelance trainer Lucille Dass to more than 60 primary school teachers as she began the Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) workshop.
Regardless, the teachers present there had one extra tool to add to their box that Saturday morning.
The workshop, held at the Gombak District Education Office located at the Selayang Mall complex taught teachers invaluable teaching methods on how to create engaging class activities using the newspaper.
A second session was also conducted for about 30 secondary school teachers.
Dass was pleased that the teachers showed an eagerness to learn.
“I hope they learnt an alternative teaching method compared to the usual methodology that they use in class.
“Using the newspaper can excite and persuade students in wanting to learn and improve their English. It is also a good resource for teaching higher order thinking skills.”
She also added, “If the teachers enjoyed it so much, then they must realise how much more their students would enjoy, if they implemented it in their classroom. I hope they would be able replicate what has been done here and keep their lessons interesting,”
The NiE teachers workshop was part of an Education Carnival by the District Education Office. The carnival, held at the same premises from April 22 to 24, was one of the programmes leading up to the Selangor state-level Teachers Day celebration, also hosted by the district education office.
The three-day carnival saw a book fair and exhibitions by YTL Corporation, the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), Menara KL, Bank Islam and The Star. Among the objectives of the fair was to inculcate the reading habit in students as well as to give new insight to 21st century learning.
Gombak District Education Officer Sajoli Masdor said that the NiE workshop was used as a platform to get more students interested in language learning.
“Teachers can learn to be more creative when it comes to class lessons. When students use the newspaper, it draws references to their daily lives. Content in the newspaper is focused on current issues.”
He added that NiE is one way to increase students’ attendance in schools.
“Using the newspaper in class can create an interesting and meaningful learning process for students.” For SK Taman Setia English teacher Gerald Anthony, attending the workshop was an unexpected opportunity for him to reunite with Dass.
She was his former lecturer at the teacher education institute in Penang and he did not expect to be her student again.
“Her energy is just as vibrant. It’s interesting how you can use the newspaper to teach children. I got some pretty good ideas today. I’m sure my students will react positively to these activities. It is something different from their workbooks and texbooks – really out of the box.”
English teacher Mohd Radzi Hamzah from SK Bandar Baru Selayang said that NiE workshops were essential for language teachers.
“This is my first NiE workshop and I think it’s very good. It exposes teachers to the newspaper as a teaching resource. And we cannot deny that hands-on activities are still very effective for learning.”
Having attended an NiE workshop in 2001, SMK Taman Desa 2 English teacher Lum Kwei Yee grabbed the chance to refresh her ideas for the classroom.
“I’m very enthusiastic about making my teaching more creative. I like how the trainer stressed on pronunciation and used rhythmics as part of her activities.
‘I was a music teacher, so now I can go back and incorporate music elements into my teaching. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated!”
SMK Rawang head of language department Rahmat Bebe Abdul Razak liked the fact that she can make use of the newspaper in any class.
“The newspaper is an authentic medium of education. It is suitable for students who are proficient in English as well as weaker students.
“When I use the newspaper in class, students who are good in English seem more motivated as communication becomes two-way.
“For the weaker students, they have fun while picking up new words.”
She also commented that she liked how the trainer incorporated rhythm with the tambourine.
“I’m going to use that technique. It will certainly keep the students awake!”