TWENTY years ago, Dr Gunadevi K Jeevi Subramaniam had the chance to attend a Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) workshop by The Star in Langkawi.
Since then, the Malaysian University English Test (MUET) coordinator of Politeknik Sultan Azlan Shah, Perak, has been using newspapers in the class. She finds the methodology most effective.
Having observed a recent NiE workshop for students at the polytechnic, Dr Gunadevi, 53, reiterates that NiE is indeed impactful.
“NiE benefits weak and proficient students alike. It adds interest to class lessons and keeps them on their toes, ” said Dr Gunadevi who is also the NiE programme director at the polytechnic.
“This is something new for the students and they like it. They are more involved and engaged because they do things like search, cut, paste, prepare presentations and answer questions from their friends.”
At the workshop conducted by Star-NiE freelance consultant trainer Anna Cherubin, students were taught how to skim and scan the newspaper for information.
Dr Gunadevi said that students got to brush up on important skills.
“NiE is very relevant to skills we need to teach the students.
“Furthermore, most of them don’t buy the newspaper and having the physical newspaper on hand will encourage them to read more, ” she said.
Happy with how engaged the students were, the polytechnic is subscribing to 100 copies of the NiE pullout per issue for their English lessons.
The bi-monthly, 16-page colourful pullout tackles themes set by the Education Ministry. The levels are broken down into three namely elementary, intermediate and advanced so that teachers will be able to adapt their lessons according to their students’ proficiency levels.
Also included in the pullout are two sections – BRATs and Earn Your Band 6.
Students will be able to read articles written by their peers participating in The Star’s BRATs Young Journalist Programme, while Earn Your Band 6 aims to improve the English proficiency of those taking the MUET.
English lecturer Ahmad Faiz Sapuan, 32, thought that the workshop was a good introduction of the newspaper to students as a learning material.
“Students don’t really read the English newspapers. Not all students have excellent language proficiency, but with the ready-made NiE activities, we can retain students’ interests using real issues.
“I think they would be more interested to learn new words now. Previously, they tended to stick to the same words when they wrote. This time around, I can see that they were introduced to many new words, ” he added.
After attending the workshop, second semester student Nur Farhanah Abuthalha, 19, is looking forward to more English lessons with the newspaper.
“The workshop was good because I learned a lot of new things from it. I can see that more can be done with the newspaper. Aside from just reading it, we can use it to learn English along with the NiE pullouts.
“It is different compared to learning with the textbook. In the newspaper, it is easier to learn new words as we can understand what context it is used in.”
She also said that NiE helps her relate studies to real life.
“I study economics and many stories related to the subject can be found in The Star newspaper. It helps in my studies as well as prepares me for my future career.”
Another student Danish Apandi Rustam Apandi, 18, said that the workshop was fun.
“It was something new for us. I found out that many students don’t actually know how to use the newspaper, so it’s good that they taught us how to. In my opinion, I think the newspaper is still very important and useful today, ” said the second semester student.
“The newspaper talks about real world problems, unlike the textbook. This way, we know more about the world and our country. It’s definitely more fun to read from the newspaper than the textbook. The newspaper has more content in it.”
This year, the education pullout by Star Media Group will see 20 publications.
Subscription is through schools only. The first issue of NiE rolled out last Wednesday and will be available every other Wednesday.
For more information, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1-300-88-7827 from Monday to Friday (9am-5pm). Alternatively, teachers can contact the nearest sales representatives listed in the table.