IT’S no secret that the newspapers are a medium of instruction that can be used to enhance English language proficiency among students in schools.
SK Taman Impian Emas teacher, Mohd Noor Fahmi Mohd Habib said he now realises that having the newspapers in hand as one of his teaching tools can help strengthen pupils’ vocabulary capacity aside from giving them exposure to various kinds of topics.
The school, located in Johor Baru, had yet to be exposed to the learning of the English language with the newspapers as this was its first demonstration session. But its fun methodology is right up Mohd Noor Fahmi’s alley.
“I enjoy taking the pupils outside of their classrooms and have them use the language through public speaking and stage drama activities.
“Besides that, I also conduct games that they love to play. That’s my style of teaching,” he said.
Through his observation of the session, he said: “Using the newspapers as a teaching tool gives that added advantage of learning more so when the papers come with pullouts specifically for school-going children.”
Sharing Mohd Noor Fahmi views, English language teacher Ermi Ruziyana Md Nordin said that she is now looking forward to initiating English language lessons using the newspapers in all of her classrooms.
“The words used in the newspapers might be a bit advanced for the Year Five pupils and below but I have been using simple articles for the Year Six pupils.
“One of the strongest points of using the newspapers as a teaching tool is the vast number of new words teachers and pupils get to learn on a daily basis,” she said.
The two-hour workshop at the primary school was sponsored by MagnumCares, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) unit of the Magnum Group (Magnum). It was conducted by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) freelance consultant trainer Shyamala Sankaran.
Under the umbrella of MagnumCares, the programme actively reaches out to the community in the various sustainable and charitable programmes.
Head of Magnum Group CSR, Beh Swan Swan said: “It is important for Malaysian youths to learn and appreciate the impact of English language in the global society.”
“Magnum is supportive of such initiatives organised by Star-NiE to help make the learning more impactful and fun for the pupils,” she said.
Head of English panel Kamarnazileen Hussein concurs and was pleased to notice that the workshop encouraged teamwork among the pupils as well.
“Forty pupils participated in this workshop and we can clearly see that each and every one of them wanted to play their part and contribute to their teams’ performance.
“So it’s not only fun for the pupils. Even the teachers are having an exciting time conducting these activities.
“I hope that these workshops can be conducted again in the future,” she said.
Meanwhile, pupils V. Sharvyeen, N. Greshandaran, and Qistina Amani Mohd Yusri, all aged 11, were thrilled to learn English using the newspapers at the workshop.
All three pupils have been exposed to learning the English language through the use of the newspapers. According to the pupils, their parents began sharing the newspaper experience with them from a young age.
“My parents buy The Star newspapers daily and I like to read sports news,” said Sharvyeen who was excited to own his personal copy of the newspapers during the workshop.
“I usually read the newspapers at home with my parents. I also read the newspaper when my family and I are at the barber’s or a restaurant,” he added.
“Today’s class was fun and I really enjoyed the part where we all had to come out with a story to tell our other friends,” said Greshandaran.
Qistina Amani said that she hopes that activities that were carried out during the workshop would be conducted every day at her school so that she can learn new things daily with her friends.
“English is my favourite subject in the whole world and I hope these classes can be done every day.“Aside from reading books I also love to learn English through the newspapers that my parents buy,” she said.
SK Taman Impian Emas is one of 20 schools receiving sponsored copies of the Step Up and NiE pullouts, an English language resource for schools.
The sponsorship from MagnumCares falls under the flagship of the English for Better Opportunities (EBO) project spearheaded by Star Media Group.
The Step Up pullouts cater for pupils from Years Four to Six in primary schools. The pullouts feature Chinese and Bahasa Malaysia translations of difficult English words. It also includes samplings of NiE activities suitable for primary school pupils.
The syllabus-based pullouts are endorsed by the Education Ministry.