Versatility of the newspaper as a learning tool takes centrestage at recent NiE workshops.
EVERLYN Ravidas was astounded by the versatility of the newspapers and the freedom she gets in planning her lesson structure when using them.
“Unlike textbooks, newspapers allow me to extend my lesson to reach students of all proficiency levels.
“Not to mention the fact that it is updated daily, materials from the newspapers could also serve as an exposure for students to keep up with currents issues around them,” she said.
She is among the teachers who took the time out of her busy schedule to attend the Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) workshops for Primary and Secondary school teachers at the Kluang District Education Office recently. The workshops were organised by Star Media Group in collaboration with the Johor State Education Department.
Ravidas who is an English teacher at SMK Kahang, said she learnt a lot from the workshops that were conducted by Star-NiE freelance consultant trainer Shyamala Sankaran.
“It was refreshing. I used to use the newspapers in the classroom and I know the beauty of it but for some reason I have stopped using it in the past few years,” she said.
She added that she would go back to using newspapers after the workshop as she was reminded on how much students can learn from it.
“Shyamala also exposed us to new tricks and tips we can use to make every inch of the newspapers useful in our lessons.
“Unlike textbooks, newspapers are filled with colour and suit a wide variety of interests,” she said.
Ravidas said she would be using the Step Up pullout with her students with lower English language proficiency in order to motivate them to pick up the language.
Meanwhile, Amirul Syahmee Ibrahim who has been teaching at SMK Paloh for three years, said the fun approach introduced during the workshops have given him a lot of ideas for his future classes.
“It is a little difficult for me to obtain newspapers from the place I am currently stationed but after seeing how much of an impact it can be, I would go the extra mile to make it available for my students,” he said.
He added that one of the best things about using the newspapers in class is that teachers would be challenged to be creative in their lessons.
“Instead of sticking to textbooks, teachers can now be creative in choosing lessons they want to deliver by using the many sections available in the newspapers,” he said.
Vithiavoathi Subramaniam who is teaching in SJK(T) CEP Niyor, said she has been incorporating the use of the newspapers in her classes for years.
“Students like it when I come in with the newspapers in my hand as they know it is time for fun lessons.
“The colourful photos and easy to read nature of the Step Up pullouts also make learning fun for them,” she said.
She added that since she is teaching in an estate area where most students come from underprivileged backgrounds, most of them are not avid English readers and speakers.
“When they flip through the newspaper, some interesting articles or photos may capture their attention and could motivate them to read up to find out more,” she said with a smile.
Primary school English language officer Zulhilmi Abd Maurad of the Kluang District Education Office said the workshops allowed teachers to get new perspectives on ways to improve teaching English in a fun and exciting way.
“Learning should not be confined to only the classrooms and textbooks but rather other materials and environment that could help to cultivate interest in the language.
“The workshops showed a fun way of learning,” he said.
He added that among efforts to improve the teaching and learning of English by teachers is the Professional Learning Community (PLC), which allows teachers to continuously improve the teaching of English.
“The programmes allow teachers to come together every week to discuss issues they come across and ways to improve teaching.
“The commitment teachers are giving to improve English education has been overwhelming and with tools such as the newspapers, teaching English has never been more exciting,” he said.
Secondary school English language officer Norashikin Abu Bakar said that NiE is in line with the 21st century learning that has been a major focus of the Education Ministry.
Norashikin who was a teacher herself for years before assuming the position as an education officer, said teaching methods have to constantly be improved in order to give students the best education experience.
“The newspaper is a powerful instructional tool as it allow students to gather, analyse and conceptualise the information we get from the newspapers.
“Learning English is not just about being able to read and write well, it is also about being able to communicate well,” she said. Norashikin also added that using NiE to create class activities is a good way to help students improve their communication skills.
Star Media Group publishes two English language resources for the classroom, which are Step Up for Primary school pupils and NiE for students with higher proficiency levels.
Step Up also features Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese translation of difficult words in order for students to be able to understand the language better.
The pullouts are endorsed by the Education Ministry. 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.
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