Learning from English newspapers

Students can easily improve vocabulary, writing skills
By Chung Hyun-chae
Seoul Girls’ Middle School first-graders look at copies of The Korea Times at the school in Mapo-gu, western Seoul, on Dec. 16.
/ Courtesy of Seoul Girls’ Middle School
Kim Hyun-sun, an English teacher at Seoul Girls’ Middle School, tries to enhance the English proficiency of students, particularly vocabulary and writing skills, by using English newspapers as teaching materials in the classroom.

“There are various ways to provide motivation to English learning, one of which is to make the best use of teaching materials including English newspapers with a variety of interesting educational articles,” Kim said.

“As most articles are composed of short sentences and paragraphs, students don’t feel burdened when reading them,” she added.

When the teacher surveyed her students about which material they prefer, English newspapers or English textbooks, the majority of them chose the former.

The reason was the short length of news articles.

“As students finish reading the given tasks quickly, they tend to feel a great sense of accomplishment, which also serves as strong motivation for them to continue,” Kim said.

First she focused on making students feel familiar with English newspapers and acquire the basic vocabulary appearing in them.

“I have students play a bingo game in groups and just use words from the front page of the paper. It helps students learn vocabulary as well improve pronunciation in that the group loses its turn if group members fail to correctly say words,” Kim said.

For those with a good command of English, she gives them additional tasks to make English posts in which they write their opinions about certain articles.

“Given that the English language syntax is different from Korean’s, it is difficult to improve English writing skills unless students practice by themselves,” Kim said.

“Writing their opinions and copying good articles is a great help to develop students’ writing ability.”

In recognition of her newspaper in education (NIE) teaching method, she won the excellence award at the third Newspaper in Education (NIE) Contest at Yongmoon Middle School in Seongbuk-gu, northern Seoul, last month.

The Seoul Secondary English Teachers’ Association (SETA) hosted the annual contest under the auspices of The Korea Times, the nation’s oldest English daily.

She operates this kind of class once a week on Monday as a regular class for first-graders and finished another English newspaper class for an English club consisting of high-level students in September.

She used The Korea Times, Teen Times and National Geographic as the main materials.

“I hope more teachers will use English newspaper in education (ENIE) methods in their classes. I think The Korea Times needs to promote itself as teaching material by holding a contest,” Kim said.


One thought on “Learning from English newspapers

  1. I think this is a great activity to include in your class. I often use community newspapers with my adult international students.

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