Integrating the newspaper and the news into the curriculum

Аннотация. In this article the author tells about using the news at the English lessons. The mass media certainly influence the students and the teachers during the studying process. The purpose of this paper is to show how these media can be used at English classes with the benefit. In everyday situations, a student is opened to the written and oral information coming from the press and television. Both ways of presenting information are diverse authentic, accessible material in modern English. The aim is to introduce the peculiarities of the newspaper language. In general, the goal of this approach is to achieve autonomous learning through the development of their competence in English.

News develops every day. The beauty of the newspaper in the classroom is that it is also fresh each day. It comes to you with the latest news and information and, unlike other media, comes beautifully written with lots of detail. Stories unfold as reporters unearth more information to reconstruct what happened. There is truly no better record of the world's happenings than a newspaper. The mass media certainly influence the students and the teachers during the studying process. The purpose of this paper is to show how these media can be used at English classes with the benefit.

Each class must extend the students’ world, their outlook. In everyday situations, a student is opened to the written and oral information coming from the press and television. Thus, we can apply the same effect during studies. Both ways of presenting information are diverse authentic, accessible material in modern English. The aim is to introduce the peculiarities of the newspaper language.

The tasks that accompany each text should give the student the confidence that they will be able to read and watch the news in English themselves in class and outside of classroom training. Such tasks will make them think and develop their critical thinking. In general, the goal of this approach is to achieve autonomous learning through the development of their competence in English.

How often to produce the material

It must be constantly kept in mind the fact that the newspaper stuff is just an aid and not only in the learning process. Thus, the teacher must decide himself when it is the best time for this kind of work. Experience shows that modern, everyday information that they have to process to understand, restore or reproduce after reading or viewing a particular passage benefits most of all. This is what they should absolutely do in life. Consequently, the frequency of such tasks depends on the needs and interests of students and, on the time availability.

The analysis of the presented material

The teacher, first of all, should analyze the structure, linguistic peculiarities of the language (including vocabulary) and the content of the news. All this is equally important for any task, and varies depending on the situation.

Many researchers state that the language contained in a newspaper article, follows a certain pattern. Thus, the teachers should select the texts according to different models, in order to teach the students to recognize these structures in different texts. Likewise, it is necessary to do the analysis of the text, based on its structure, photos and personal attitude to the given news.

This kind of lesson should develop critical thinking by providing students with the tasks involving problem solving or research. For example, a teacher can start a class with the news of the day or the week. The discussion could focus on the topics covered in a particular block of news. We can discuss various topics: business and trade, scientific achievements and medicine, as well as the news of art, theatre, music, cinema and literature. The choice of the topics and the news should be made taking into account the course curriculum and the interests of the students.

The selection of the appropriate material

The length of the text is also an important factor in choosing the material. The text should be long enough to inspire the student, but not so long to be tiresome. The text for 5-10 minutes could be fine. A shorter text can be given to less prepared students, so that they can feel confident while doing certain tasks on these texts.

Another important factor is the difficulty of the text. The text should be neither very difficult to understand, nor too easy, below the level of the students the text should involve the use of certain skills when reading this passage. We should not include topics, which are absolutely unfamiliar to the students. The texts should be of maximum difficulty to the group of students. Students with higher levels can retell the most important aspects of the news, or tell the news as a journalist, write their own version of the news.

Planning sessions

Step 1: Preview

Preliminary tasks consist of those tasks, which provide pre-reading work with the context of the event. The so-called "warm-up activities" can be used at the beginning of the classes in order to present the students the topic of the information they are going to read or watch. You can give the task to read the information on this given topic in any British newspaper or on the web site.

Step 2: Reading and viewing

Listening to the text is very important on the second stage. It is necessary to remind the students that they are reading or listening not just to absorb the visual or verbal information, but mainly to reflect it.

Step 3: Focus on the content

The overall objectives of this phase are to teach students to use those strategies that are needed in order to cope with the reporting the news afterwards or with the headlines, leading phrases, and article content. Each of these has its own style. This is facilitated by such instructional techniques as a guess, forecast and drawing conclusions, since they are important for working with the text in general. We need to get the students to try to use those skills and abilities which they use in the native language, and to project these skills and abilities on the activity given. Students should usually answer five Wh-questions who, what, when and why or how to get basic information from the text.

Step 4: Focus on the form

At this stage, the students' attention is drawn to the different syntactic structures, certain lexical units, expressions that illustrate the idioms of the language. You also need to pay attention to the style used in the text.

Step 5: Final assignment

Newspapers will help students improve their skills in reading, listening, speaking and writing. They will employ many critical thinking skills as they are required to interact with the authentic material found in the newspaper.

Conclusion

The newspaper expands the curriculum with an unlimited amount of information to use as background for learning activities. Newspapers support language and literacy development, stimulate an interest in current events, support learning across the curriculum, promote higher level thinking skills, stimulate independent reading and writing, support character development.

SAMPLE NEWSPAPER TASKS

Read and write for meaning. Remove the headlines from a number of news stories. Display the headline-less stories on a classroom bulletin board. Provide students with the headlines, and ask them to match each to one of the stories. As students replace the missing headlines, ask them to point out the words in the headlines that helped them find the correct story. Then distribute headlines from less prominent stories and ask students to choose one and write a news story to go with it. When the stories have been completed, provide each student with the story that originally accompanied the headline. Ask: How close was your story to the original? How effectively did the headline convey the meaning of the story? You might follow up this activity by asking students to write a headline for their favorite fairy tale.

Read a map. Arrange students into groups, and assign each group one international story in the news. Have students explore Maps of the World and choose a map related to their assigned story. Ask students to use the map to answer some or all of these questions:

  • In what city did the story take place?
  • What country is that city in?
  • What is the capital of that country?
  • What language is spoken there?
  • What continent is the country part of?
  • What countries or bodies of water border the country on the north, south, east, and west?
  • What physical characteristics of the country might have contributed to the events in the story?
  • What effect might the event or series of events have on the physical characteristics of the country?

Reading and writing newspaper articles.

Activity: Writing short newspaper articles Level: Intermediate to upper intermediate Outline:

Use the provided example newspaper article, or take a newspaper into the class.

Ask students to read the newspaper article and summarize the contents.

Have students analyze the difference between the headline, leading sentence and article content in terms of tense usage and vocabulary in small groups (3-4 students).

As a class, check that the differences between headline, leading sentence and article content are clear. Here is a short guideline to the main differences:

Headline: Simple tenses, idiomatic, flashy vocabulary, no use of function words

Leading sentence: Present perfect tense often used to give general overview.

Article content: Proper tense usage, including a change from present perfect to past tenses to give detailed, specific information about what, where and when something happened.

Once the differences have been understood, have students split up into pairs or small groups (34 students)

Using the work sheet, small groups should write their own newspaper articles using the headlines provided or come up with their own stories.

Have students read their newspaper articles aloud allowing you to incorporate some listening comprehension into the lesson.

 

References:

  1. Копылова В.В. Основные направления организации обучения иностранным языкам при проведении эксперимента по совершенствованию структуры и содержания общего образования. // Коммуникативная методика, 2003, №3.
  2. Onestopenglish. 2012 weekly news lessons archive, viewed on January 13, 2012. – http://www. onesto-penglish.com/
  3. Onestopenglish. News lessons, viewed on November 19, 2011. –http://www.onestopenglish.com/
  4. Немов Р.С. Психология. Учебник. – М.: Просвещение: ВЛАДОС, 1995.
Magazine: KazNU BULLETIN
Year: 2012
City: Almaty
Category: Philology
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