Teachers found Manoharans (standing) talk both insightful and inspiring.
To mark The Star’s 20th year in NiE, workshops are being held for teachers to hone their skills and creativity in language lessons.
A teacher is always a learner before a teacher. These were among words of wisdom that Star-NiE freelance trainer Lucille Dass imparted to some 48 secondary school English teachers during a workshop held at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya.
The Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) workshop, held recently, aimed to convey creative methods of using the newspaper as a resource in language lessons. Another session for 45 primary school English teachers was held the day before. Both workshops were the first of many that have been planned until September for teachers from Klang Valley schools.
The Selangor State and Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory Education Departments and the Institute of Teacher Education, international languages campus, Kuala Lumpur, are jointly collaborating on the project to mark Star-NiE’s 20th anniversary.
The workshop concluded with an empowering talk by the Institute of Teacher Education, international languages campus, Kuala Lumpur, lecturer Manoharan Nalliah.
“Teachers create all other professions – that’s how powerful we are,” he said.
Echoing Dass’ sentiment, he said: “The minute they (the students) have fun with language, they remember. The main idea of bringing language arts into the curriculum is to include one hour of teaching language in a fun manner.”
He also noted that while “HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills)” and “21st century learning skills” are terms that are heavily used of late, NiE has been tapping into these skills since its inception in the 1980s. “I have always felt that the newspaper is the best resource because it is so authentic.”
Workshop participant Zulmazlina Zulkifli from SMK Shah Alam thought that the talk by Nalliah was positive and inspiring.
“It encourages us to be better teachers. I think it’s good for teachers to come out and listen to people who inspire. Being a teacher is not easy.”
Adam Dharma from SMK Bandar Tasik Puteri found the NiE activities they picked up at the sessions useful and applicable in the KSSM (Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Menengah).
“They are suitable as action-oriented tasks for students.
“A major challenge is to get my students interested in the language. And the newspaper caters to all. Students can find something that interest them.”
A newcomer to NiE, English teacher Foo Sue May from SMK Assunta, Petaling Jaya, said it was an insightful session. “The newspaper is a good material to use in class – it is authentic and has lots of images so it is attractive to students. It would make students more interested in learning English. I like how the activities are interactive and it gets them talking.”
SMI Al-Amin Gombak English teacher Yusmedarwati Mohd Yusoff, whose school recently subscribed to 430 copies, also attended an NiE workshop for the first time.
“We received our first issue last week and the students were very happy with the activities, especially the hands-on ones. I’ve been teaching for 12 years, but now I feel like I’ve just gotten a new gadget.”
“The government is trying to raise English proficiency standards, and I think this is a good way to help students. The workshop was very helpful. I have lots of ideas in mind and I can’t wait to carry out the activities with my students!”
Petaling Utama district education office English Language officer Nuraini Abd Rahman encouraged teachers to attend the workshop. “It’s a great method to teach English. Many topics in The Star coincide with themes in the syllabus.
“I encourage teachers to pick up this method of teaching. It also promotes reading and literacy. From reading materials like the newspaper, pupils are aware of what is happening in the world and it will prepare them for future endeavours.”