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  • Education
  • Sunday, 26 Feb 2017

With the inclusion of the Earn Your Band 6 section for Form Six students in NiE, the pullout proves to be a learning resource for all.

SUICIDE – a delicate topic that many tiptoe around.

Thanks to the Earn Your Band 6 section of the NiE pullout by The Star, MUET teacher Chandrika Menon found a way to broach the subject with her class. This led to constructive discussion.

Aided with the first Earn Your Band 6 issue of the year, a dialogue on identifying suicidal behaviour was opened up among the students in Form Six AC 11 at SMK Sri Istana, Klang, Selangor. The distress signals included fantasising about death and giving away precious items.

Students need not feel suicidal, at least when facing their Malaysian University English Test (MUET) writing paper. The Earn Your Band 6 section is designed to help MUET candidates inch closer to an optimum result.

The section publishes essays written by peers, together with corrections, tips and advice from MUET experts. For the first Earn Your band 6 issue, an essay written by SMK Sri Istana student Quah Chun Meng was selected. The student from class Form Six AS Four was excited to see his essay in the newspapers.

He said that the cash reward was a big incentive that motivated him to write. “The essay topics given were very interesting as well. More importantly, it was good practice for essay writing.

The Earn Your Band 6 section is very relevant to Form Six students. I hope this pullout continues. With the feedback, I know where I went wrong, and where I can improve,” he added.

Chandrika said the topics published in the pullout are very relevant to the lifestyle of young adults. “Students are exposed to information that cannot be found in textbooks.”

She applauded the NiE pullout, saying that it is a good resource. “I feel that teachers should make full use of it. Although Earn Your Band 6 comes out once every four issues of the NiE pullout, I subscribe to the pullout for the entire year.”

“Hands-on NiE activities take away the monotonous style of teaching. With NiE, the teacher truly becomes the facilitator. Students are involved in discussing, brainstorming and presenting – these are skills that they will need in the university.”

Chandrika vouched for the benefits of using NiE. “I’ve seen progress in my students. Some used to barely utter anything in class. NiE activities encouraged them to speak up. NiE helps build their confidence in using English with hands-on activities.

“I’m also very glad the students have inculcated a newspaper reading habit from receiving an English daily once a week. My Form Six Upper students have been using the pullout since last year,” she added. Form Six AC 11 student Vanessa Anne Vinsent said that using the pullout is vastly different from using the regular workbook or textbook. “NiE has many different activities. There are more facts involved and from the way that the teacher explains a topic, I feel like I understand more.

“Using the newspaper in class deepens our knowledge and gives us more ideas. It also takes learning outside of the school. We learn things that we can actually apply in real life.

“It has definitely helped improve my English language. In fact, most of my English is learnt from The Star newspaper. I think it is a good daily to read if you want to improve in English,” she said.

Classmate Jason Jaisol said that the pullout gives them a lot of interesting topics to talk about. “The pullout basically adds more knowledge and new words to my vocabulary.”

Jason, who likes reading the comic and world news section, thinks that newspaper reading should be encouraged.

“People are often playing games on their mobile phones. It’s much better to read a book or newspaper instead.”

Agreeing, Ummi Najihah Azahari, also from Form Six AC 11, said that learning with the newspaper lets them stay in touch with current issues. “We get more information that we can use to write our essays. The essays in Earn Your Band 6 gives me good references. It helps me when it comes to grammar.

“I like to read the essays and feedback from the MUET specialists. It gives me valuable pointers to write better MUET essays.”

Their teacher Chandrika was pleased to see the inclusion of 21st century skill indicators in this year’s NiE pullout. “I commend The Star for this as it is very helpful to teachers, regardless if they are teaching primary, secondary or pre-university students.

“MUET has always been about Critical and Creative Thinking Skills (CCTS) and 21st century learning. The NiE activities are in line with what we are doing in Form Six.”

SMK Sri Istana, with an enrolment of 300 students, holds 120 subscriptions to the NiE pullout.

For more information, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1-300-88-7827 from Monday to Friday (9am-5pm). Subscription is through schools only.

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