MOST teachers would have experienced this: 20 minutes into a lesson and you catch some students staring blankly into space or worse, sleeping.
Some may not feel that boredom in the classroom is much of a problem. But if students are not paying attention, they are not absorbing the lesson at hand.
While we cannot expect students to step into school inspired and raring to learn, there are ways teachers can make the class more engaging.
One tried-and-tested method used all over the world is to incorporate the newspapers.
Entering its 23rd year, the Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) programme by The Star has been turning the newspaper into a quality classroom resource.
The Star, as a major English daily in the country, is poised to provide authentic material for language lessons.
By including the newspaper in your lesson, students are indirectly exposed to news on what’s happening in the world. The pullout helps students make the connection between what they are learning and issues in the real world.
In 2020, the NiE pullout, which comes with a copy of The Star, has 16 pages per issue. It organises its activities into elementary, intermediate and advanced levels to help teachers get the most out of the newspaper as a teaching resource.
Published bi-monthly on Wednesdays, the colourful pullout is written by a team of experienced English language teachers and specialists, and is packed with engaging hands-on NiE activities for the classroom.
Students are given a comprehensive and structured learning framework that focuses on three major segments – the English language, literature and character building. These three segments are titled NiE English, NiE Literature and NiE Life, respectively.
The pullout follows themes in the national syllabus and is endorsed by the Education Ministry.
The current buzzwords in education – Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS), creative thinking and cooperative learning – are no strangers to NiE.
The pullout includes key indicators that signal the various types of 21st century skills practised in each activity.
With 20 issues per year, the pullout also includes two sections – BRATs and Earn Your Band 6.
Students will be able to read articles written by their peers in The Star’s BRATs Young Journalist Programme.
This section is dedicated to all things that make teens tick, which include current affairs, pop culture and short stories. It is designed for teens with a passion for writing and an instinct for journalism.
Teachers, too, get a corner where they share inspiring stories.
Earn Your Band 6 is aimed at improving the English proficiency of those taking the Malaysian University English Test (MUET).
Students will have access to tips and activities designed by teachers and specialist writers to hone their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.
MUET candidates also stand a chance to have their essays published, and win cash prizes.
Meanwhile, another pullout called Step Up caters to pupils in Years Four, Five and Six. It is a workbook-cum-activity pullout aimed at helping pupils improve their vocabulary, grammar, writing and conversational skills while preparing for the UPSR.
The pullout features Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese translations of difficult English words, while its last two pages features NiE activities.
The colourful 32-page pullout is syllabus-based and is endorsed by the Education Ministry.
Teachers, expect to go beyond the textbook with mind-stimulating questions that help prepare your students for the most important test of all: life.
Incorporating NiE need not be a hassle. When your school subscribes to The Star’s NiE or Step Up programme, you will obtain a copy of our 2020 planner to help you seamlessly integrate the activities into your lesson plans.
For more information, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1-300-88-7827 from Monday to Friday (9am-5pm), or get in touch with the marketing representative closest to you (from Monday to Friday between 8.30am to 7.30pm).
Subscription is through schools only.