Newspaper activities a hit with pupils

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USING the newspaper as a resource in her classroom has been a longtime favourite of English language teacher Komathy Sukumaran.

Over her 30 years of teaching schoolchildren in Perak, she has engaged her pupils in various activities, from creating two-dimensional visuals such as monsters to producing three-dimensional objects like flower handicrafts and teddy bears – all while using The Star newspaper as material.

Currently the English panel head at SJK (T) Ladang Walbrook, she continues to incorporate the newspaper into her lessons, an initiative that has been well received by her pupils.

“My pupils are not very fond of using English but they always try to give their best commitment to completing the activities.“Even though they speak broken English, they always use English in my class.

They capture new words from the newspaper and we discuss them in class.

So, my pupils have certainly benefited from the use of the newspaper,” she told StarEdu.

She added that she herself has benefited from having The Star newspaper as a resource ever since she attended Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) courses organised by the National Union of the Teaching Profession in Sitiawan in 2002.

“From those days till now, The Star has been using excellent English, which helps children to achieve a good command of the language.

“It is easy for me to use the newspaper to obtain information on the latest issues, find children’s entertainment, as well as design activities such as arts and crafts, grammar and reading simple texts,” she shared.

Besides referring to the newspaper, Komathy goes the extra mile by looking for project ideas on the Internet and then incorporating these ideas on the days her school subscribes to the newspaper.

Although her activities have managed to capture her pupils’ attention, Komathy said she has had to overcome some challenges.

“For example, I have pupils who never follow instructions. So, I have to ask them to redo the projects.

There are also some pupils who can’t finish their work on time,” she said.

“Sometimes, my pupils’ parents would call or text me without bothering about the time.

It doesn’t matter if I am outside or in bed; they would still want confirmation on how to get things done,” she added.

Despite the challenges, Komathy urged other teachers to make their lessons more exciting with the use of the newspaper.

“Teachers, especially the young ones, could use their creativity to incorporate the newspaper into classroom teaching and learning, using themes such as the arts, entertainment and sports.

“Instead of using the same teaching method, the use of the newspaper can enhance the pupils’ interest in learning,” she said.

Carrie Ann, 22, a student in Penang, is a participant of the BRATs Young Journalist Programme run by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team.

For updates on the BRATs programme, go to facebook.com/niebrats.

Young fans

“I enjoy reading The Star newspaper every day because it uses a wide vocabulary.

My grammar skills have improved from reading the newspaper.

My favourite English activity in class was creating a basket from the newspaper.

The process of producing the basket was interesting and I can use it to keep my belongings.” – Kayalvili Ilampuranan, 12

“I like reading a variety of news articles and looking at the colourful pictures.

I’m also attracted to the Sports section as I admire some of the athletes. – Naawinn Kaliesveran, 11

“I love using the newspaper as it has helped me learn a lot of new words.

My favourite newspaper activity is coming up with a flower handicraft.” – Sinisha Sudhakar, 10

Now that you have read the article, test your understanding by carrying out the following English language activities.

1. Flip through today’s copy of the newspaper.

Can you find three items that are both informative and interesting to you?

Clip them together and have a show-and-tell with your friends.

2. What is a newspaper activity that you would incorporate into an English language lesson?

Discuss this with a partner and carry out the lesson in class.

Have your classmates rate your lesson in terms of its value in getting students interested in learning English.

The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) programme promotes the use of English language in primary and secondary schools nationwide. For Star-NiE enquiries, email [email protected].

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