Authentic language learning

  • Education
  • Sunday, 29 Jul 2018

Year Five pupils of SK Kota Masai 2 pose for the camera with their teachers and Kumaran (standing, far left) after the NiE workshop conducted by Shyamala.

Newspaper activities spur enthusiasm and participation in English class lessons.

STRETCHING their hands as high as they could, the 11-year-olds hoped to catch the trainer’s attention at a Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) workshop held in Pasir Gudang, Johor.

The session, conducted by Star-NiE freelance consultant trainer Shyamala Sankaran, was designed to engage students in English language learning with the help of The Star newspaper.

Although it was not a language that would roll off effortlessly from the tongues of the SK Kota Masai 2 pupils, they were enthusiastic about giving their answers and completing tasks at hand.

Most pupils were not from families that conversed in English often. Pupil Nurshafiqah Nabihah Shahrudin said that the workshop was “fun and exciting” and gave her the opportunity to speak in English with friends.

Schoolmate Intan Aqilah Mohd Azmi too enjoyed the interactive activities saying that she “learnt new words” from the newspaper.

Another pupil Muhammad Farishah Iskandar Yusri had much fun doing the NiE activities and said that it was good to be able to speak English. “We can talk to people from other countries,” he said.

The school’s English teacher Selvakumari Naga Raju was surprised to see how the pupils responded to the activities.

“Their reaction are so different when they are in class! I can see that they want to participate in the English activities. They looked very excited and lively.

“The activities let them move around and they are not bored. The hands-on work also encourages them to be creative,” she said.

The school is a recipients of the NiE and Step Up pullouts sponsored by PPB Group Berhad.

This Malaysian diversified conglomerate, which engages in food production, agriculture, waste management, film distribution, property investment and development, is a supporter of Star Media Group’s English for Better Opportunities (EBO) project.

EBO is a multi-level platform aimed at making immersive driven English language programmes interactive, fun and accessible to all levels of society.

SK Kota Masai 2 English panel head Mohamad Zakir Ahmad Najib said that the newspaper is a good material for language teaching.

“Pupils not only read examples of grammatically correct sentences in English, they also get to know about current events and happenings.

“The activities help pupils boost their confidence in using the language. In this day and age, English is widely used in the online world. With the ability to communicate in this language, they would have access to a lot of information and knowledge,” he said.

English language officer Kumaran Apala Naidu of the Pasir Gudang District Education Office said that it was important to connect what pupils learn in classrooms to the outside world, especially in the 21st century classroom.

“The newspaper provides teachers with current happenings and stories to use while teaching.

“And with the education pullouts, the newspaper becomes an easy-to-use resource for teachers. Moreover, primary school pupils are attracted to their colourful pages,” he added.

The NiE pullout, which comes with a copy of the newspaper every Wednesday, features syllabus-based topics for students in elementary, intermediate and advanced levels.

With 33 issues per year, it provides creative ideas and ready-made activities to make language learning exciting and different for pupils.

While NiE is designed for primary and secondary students with a considerable grasp on the English language, Step Up caters for pupils from Years Four to Six in national and Chinese primary schools.

The pullout features Chinese and Bahasa Malaysia translation of difficult English words. It also includes samplings of NiE activities suitable for primary school pupils.

For details on the Star-NiE school sponsorship programme, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1 300 88 7827 from Monday to Friday (9am–5pm).

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