‘Get to know the newspaper’

Perky session: Shyamala (far right) and JPN Johor Learning Sector senior principal assistant director of languages Noor Rahilme Mohamed Noor (far left) with the participants. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

THE first step to making full use of a product is getting to know it inside out.

That was the task undertaken by officers from the Johor State Education Department (JPN) district offices at The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) workshop recently.

Conducted by Star-NiE freelance trainer Shyamala Sankaran, the workshop, held on May 21 in a hotel in Johor Baru, saw the officers getting hands-on with newspaper materials.

Hailing from Batu Pahat, Johor Baru, Kluang, Kota Tinggi, Mersing, Muar, Pasir Gudang, Pontian, Segamat and Tangkak, the 19 officers, divided into four groups, completed tasks using newspapers and experienced engaging English language learning activities.

“Today, you are not officers or former teachers but students, and I want you all to work together and make learning a fun process,” Shyamala, who is also an academic writer, told them.

The 62-year-old has 34 years of experience as a secondary school teacher under her belt. Before her retirement, she held various roles, including Guru Cemerlang, speech and debate coach, and school improvement coach.

Shyamala emphasised that English language learning in classrooms should be creative and enjoyable.

“Teachers can use newspapers to bring fun to the students.

“At the same time, teachers should also be creative and encourage their students to participate in activities during English language classes,’’ she said.

She added that each teacher has his or her own ways of creativity, and it is up to them to make learning the English language fun for their students.

“At the end of the day, what’s important is for the students to participate in the activities assigned to them during the teaching of the English language,’’ she said.

Star Media Group Bhd circulation (Trade Sales) manager Mohana Devan Murugan said the main objective of the workshop was to encourage the use of newspapers as a tool to teach the English language in schools.

Teaching and learning any languages in schools should not be restricted only to textbooks, as newspapers can also be a teaching medium, he said.

“Using newspapers as a teaching tool in the English language can encourage the reading habit among students.

“Apart from improving their language proficiency, students stay updated with what’s happening in Malaysia and around the world,” he added.

The participants collectively welcomed the collaboration between Star-NiE and schools in the respective districts to encourage teachers to use newspapers in their classrooms.

Since its inception in 1997, Star-NiE has supported English language teaching and learning in primary and secondary schools nationwide.

In 2021, Star-NiE revamped its offerings, transitioning from the previous pullout format to a weekly activity page integrated into the StarEdu pullout on Sundays.

Additionally, Star-NiE activities can be found in the StarLifestyle pullout on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. These activities, designed by English language experts, cater to students of all proficiency levels – elementary, intermediate and advanced.

They are suitable for individual study or group work, with parents and teachers encouraged to work on the activities with their children or students.

The programme aims to develop the four skills of the English language: reading, listening, writing and speaking.

For Star-NiE enquiries, email starnie@thestar.com.my.

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Star-NiE , workshop , English learning


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