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