NEWS­PA­PERS IN CLASSES IS GOOD NEWS FOR STU­DENTS

New Straits Times - - Letters -

THE world of ed­u­ca­tion is see­ing dra­matic changes. English lan­guage teach­ers must make their lessons ex­cit­ing and mean­ing­ful in an en­vi­ron­ment of in­no­va­tions and tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments.

Text­book-bound class­rooms no longer pro­duce the learn­ing out­comes we would like from the present gen­er­a­tion of stu­dents.

Use­ful as they are, text­books are not suf­fi­cient. We need some­thing prac­ti­cal and ac­ces­si­ble that makes learn­ing English ex­cit­ing.

This is where news­pa­pers can play an im­por­tant part. As an ed­u­ca­tional re­source in schools and uni­ver­si­ties, news­pa­pers are like gems that pro­vide knowl­edge. They are a link to the out­side world.

The ar­ti­cles and re­ports in a news­pa­per are writ­ten by jour­nal­ists, aca­demi­cians and the pub­lic. It is a pow­er­house of knowl­edge in printed form.

Here are ex­am­ples how news­pa­pers can be used as a teach­ing tool.

Un­der­grad­u­ates can get in­for­ma­tion from news­pa­pers, in­ter­pret graphs and charts, get cre­ative writ­ing ideas and ca­reer in­for­ma­tion, prac­tise read­ing out loud, learn gram­mar and com­plete crossword puz­zles

News­pa­pers in­clude in­for­ma­tion on sci­en­tific ad­vance­ment and life in the re­motest cor­ners of earth.

Fur­ther­more, news­pa­pers are in­clu­sive in that the pub­lic can voice their opin­ions on is­sues.

The ad­van­tage to un­der­grad­u­ates is that they have ac­cess to a record of hap­pen­ings, and the in­for­ma­tion is cur­rent.

The news is alive. It cap­tures the events of the world with words and pic­tures.

This is some­thing that can­not be achieved with text­books. We want to pro­duce a gen­er­a­tion of Malaysians who are crit­i­cal, cre­ative and learn English the fun way.

News­pa­pers are ideal for this pur­pose.

There is so much gen­eral knowl­edge and in­for­ma­tion for a small mon­e­tary in­vest­ment.

News­pa­pers en­cour­age the read­ing habit. There is some­thing for ev­ery­one, from sports fans to na­ture lovers.

I’m a news­pa­per ad­dict. Over the years I’ve be­come a more dis­crim­i­nat­ing reader.

I use head­lines and in­tro­duc­tory para­graphs to de­cide whether I want to read an ar­ti­cle. I tend to skim pieces of mi­nor in­ter­est, but I read closely when an ar­ti­cle prom­ises to bet­ter in­form me, con­firm my bi­ases or in­cite my anger.

As a re­sult, I of­ten end up writ­ing a let­ter to the edi­tor or sup­port­ing a cause.

By us­ing news­pa­pers in class­rooms, schools could move stu­dents closer to meet­ing the lan­guage arts stan­dards and in­crease their love for read­ing, writ­ing and crit­i­cal think­ing.

VIN­CENT D’SILVA,

NIE trainer and English Lan­guage lec­turer

News­pa­pers en­cour­age the read­ing habit.

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