I need a cup of hot tea, a comfy chair and a daily newspaper every morning. By and large, I start my days with newspapers. I do get irritated and anxious if the newspapers man fails to deliver the newspapers on time.
At times, I feel I am deeply addicted to it. My days have not passed smoothly without reading the newspapers. It is fulfilling and rewarding. For writers like me, it is imperative to read extensively so that it will be helpful in our writing. They are a good source of knowledge and information. This habit will widen our outlook and horizons.
Not everyone realizes the significance of newspapers in our daily routines. Some prefer to have gadgets like mobile phones than newspapers.
Taking selfies and sending ‘likes’ on Facebook seems a good way to pass time for some. With the heavy dependence on the gadgets, some people are losing interest in reading the printed materials. Many students are not able to produce quality essays due to the lack of word power and general knowledge.
The use of colloquial language and informal language is still prevalent among the students. Their poor essays sometimes bore me and I am not sure how to grade them.
I truly suggest that parents should cultivate the reading habit among the children. It is parents’ utmost responsibility to make sure the children read instead of buying them gadgets to appease them. Reading should be viewed as an enjoyment. Inadvertently, language is learnt.
Newspapers publish news and articles on various issues and enrich our general knowledge which will be helpful in their writing. They can integrate their general knowledge into their essay writing and stand a chance to score high marks.
In short, newspapers have a great educative value which we might overlook at times. In class, teachers are encouraged to use newspapers as teaching tools besides textbooks.
With the recent 21st century teaching and learning, learners are given the full autonomy and freedom in the learning process.
One way of getting their attention and interest is by incorporating the use of the newspapers. Sometimes, before we begin the class, we would start a conversation about the headlines in the newspaper.
It’s a good induction for an English lesson. Teachers can also ask the students to cut articles and highlight difficult words. They can then add to their vocabulary this way.
Students are encouraged to look up the meanings in the dictionary. When I was working in a tuition centre few years back, I had a student who would regularly copy a sentence or phrase that she found interesting from the newspaper into a book.
When I looked at the book, there were already about 500 phrases and sentences. She would find out the meaning of these phrases and try to use them in her essays.
Not only was the news itself beneficial for students but it also developed their language skills and increased their word vocabulary.
Bizarrely, with the current trend of using ‘Facebook’ and ‘SMS’ language, which directly affects the authenticity of the English language, we must take a step back and reflect on what has gone wrong.
The practical usage of the language is negligible. I have no qualms saying that the standard of English is going down the drain.
It is high time for students to read proper printed materials such as newspapers which advocate the use of Standard English. Sometimes, it is bewildering and baffling to see the way some students speak English without realizing the mistakes they make in each sentence.
Doesn’t it boil down to poor reading habits? Simply put, students nowadays are distracted by many things around them.
Some would rather play with the gadgets than flip through the pages of the book.
Students also have different forms of intelligence that influence their way of learning English.
Students with visual intelligence, for example, will benefit from the comic strip in the newspapers. Generally speaking, teachers can utilize the content in the newspapers in the classroom.
Research says that newspapers are useful authentic teaching materials which can assist the students in learning English as a second language.
By all means, teachers must not be hesitant to use newspapers. Various languages games and grammar activities can be carried out as group activities.
Most of the time, the daily newspapers have their workshop on NIE (Newspapers in Education) whereby teachers are invited to participate.
I personally attended several NIE workshops conducted by the skillful trainers.
The inputs were very much useful and I use them in my teaching too.
Somerset Maugham, a famous writer, eloquently said that ‘to acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life’. I couldn’t agree more.
From SUMATI MUNIANDY of Johor Baru