Bringing the real world into classrooms

English teachers trying out the activities at the NiE workshop.

NiE a way to 21st century learning.

GRAMMAR and vocabulary should always be taught within context. This point was highlighted during a Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) workshop held in Batu Pahat, Johor.

“The English language should always be taught covertly in context. Give your students a situation – only then will they be able to identify the function of grammar,” said Star-NiE freelance consultant trainer Shyamala Sankaran to a room full of English teachers.

“Purpose is very important. Students should feel that learning has a purpose. The 21st century way of learning also requires you to bring authenticity to the classroom.

“What better platform than the newspaper? It is informative, current and full of real-life situations,” she added.

Held in three sessions over three days, the NiE workshops took place at SK Penghulu Salleh and SK Tengku Mariam, Johor. The workshops were held for teachers teaching in the Batu Pahat district in Johor.

Batu Pahat district English Language officer Mohd Nazri Samad said that teachers attending the workshop will greatly benefit from it.

“With NiE, I hope that English lessons will become more fun.

“NiE activities can boost students’ communication skills, especially when exchanging ideas and conducting group work. This is part of the 21st century learning.

“Collaboration can also be instilled through these activities. It boosts their critical and creative thinking. Rather than plain reading, they use words in a different way,” he said.

Mohd Nazri said that English language material is limited in non-urban schools in the district.

“The newspaper is a resource that is easily accessible for teachers. Plus, the newspaper is a good English language resource, especially when it comes to vocabulary building. For a beginner or intermediate English language user, I think the language style and level is suitable,” he added.

Teacher Norsaidah Badri from SMK Dato Onn said that the workshop was an excellent exposure for all of the teachers.

“It gives us more ideas on how to teach the 21st century way of learning. I look forward to trying the activities out with my pupils. The newspaper is good material for English class lessons. Activities can be adapted according to pupils’ proficiency levels.

“I teach in a non-urban school and the pupils encounter English only in school. The newspaper activities can trigger students’ interests. It gives them a different take on the English language. Right now they are just studying to pass exams. Using these activities, I think it is easier for them to understand and it is a fun way for me to teach English,” she added.

English teacher Ter Hong Boon from SMK Munshi Sulaiman recalled his secondary school days of getting a pizza voucher when he took part in the NiE annual contest.

“It was a contest that encouraged me to complete and send in a good entry.

“I think the workshop is good and more teachers should know about it. From the workshop, I learnt several ways to engage the entire class. The activities can also be adapted to suit secondary and primary school students. Everyone can participate in the activities,” he said.

Anwar Albar Bakri, who teaches at SK Penghulu Salleh, said that the workshop came at a very apt time.

“I like this workshop! This is what 21st century teaching really ought to feel like. I’m sure that my students will enjoy the activities,” he added.

Although it would be hard to conduct NiE every day, he said that teachers should do something different every week.

“NiE is simple and interesting. They will also move around and converse among their friends – this will help them remember more,” he said.

For more information on The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education programme for schools, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1-300-88-7827 from Monday to Friday (9am-5pm).

Education , NiE; Batu Pahat


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