Educators find there is much to be gained from language activities that can be tailored to suit all students.
IT’S no secret that teachers are bogged down with work. So when they are required to attend courses and workshops outside of school, many are wary if these sessions would be worth their while.
“I wanted to leave this workshop a little earlier, but I decided to stay until the end because there was much to be gained from it,” said English teacher Siti Atiqah Amir at a recent Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) workshop in Muar, Johor.
“The activities here were interesting and we learnt a lot. Students will definitely benefit from them – these activities will enhance students’ vocabulary. NiE also builds their confidence to speak up and share their ideas,” said the SK Parit Raja teacher.
A total of three workshops were held over three days at the Muar district education office. These workshops were attended by English teachers from Muar schools receiving the Star-NiE pullouts sponsored by PPB Group Berhad.
This Malaysian diversified conglomerate is sponsoring education pullouts to 40 schools across Johor under Star Media Group’s English for Better Opportunities (EBO) project. Four NiE workshops for teachers and students were also included in this sponsorship to help teachers understand the methodology of using the newspaper as a resource to teach English.
EBO is a multi-level platform aimed at making immersive driven English language programmes interactive, fun and accessible to all levels of society.
Star-NiE freelance consultant trainer Shyamala Sankaran, assured the Muar teachers that NiE activities can be used for students of all proficiency levels.
She noted that each teacher’s context was different.
“The most important thing that teachers should know is how to adopt, adapt and improvise. Tweak the activities to suit your classroom.”
Allimalar Sugumaran from SK Lenga liked how much creativity and ideas were generated from the simple activities. The English teacher who teaches Years Three, Five and Six said that the workshop has definitely been useful.
“Now I have a lot of ideas to put to use in my classroom. I loved the group work. This is the first time I’m hearing about NiE. I have used The Star before but I have not heard of its education pullouts. I think the pullouts would be good guides for teachers.”
Another teacher Chua Wee Han from SJK(C) Pu Nan said that he enjoyed the group presentations.
“I enjoyed it because teachers shared many ideas during this part.
“Pupils gain knowledge and learn English through fun activities. The lessons are not boring at all,” he added.
Teacher Harisharma Mohd Jamil from SMK Bandar Maharani noted that the newspaper is alien to students these days.
“I would be happy if they just flipped through the newspaper. It will encourage reading as well as get students to use the dictionary as they will encounter new words.
“The NiE activities are applicable. Students will benefit from the activities, especially when we are focusing on 21st century teaching. This is a good platform for students to practise using the language confidently. The more they practise, the higher their confidence level.”
Apart from that, Harisharma added that she was able to meet new friends and gain new ideas at the workshop.
“It happens when we go for courses like this. And since we had group work, we exchanged a lot of ideas among ourselves.”
Muar district English language officer (primary school) Chew Ai Theng said that the newspaper is a really good learning resource.
“I think teachers should know that the newspaper is a really great tool. Not only can it make the activities come alive but also bring meaning to learning. Teachers do not need to spend time searching for material. The newspaper is rich with pictures, headlines and articles. So it all boils down to how skilled teachers are in using this resource.”
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 students.
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).