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teaching media

Media : Newspapers
Level : The media is suitable for elementary to advance

Newspapers are easy to be brought in the class in different subjects and courses, especially in literature, language classes, history etc. Some of them have valuable information for these subjects, but we should know how to find this information. Many libraries have systems of classification according to the topics and issues and we can easily find our way in searching this information. If not we would spend a lot of time to find something. It is often said that academic success starts at the library.
The variety of subjects and topics makes newspapers interesting and motivating for the students to work with. Newspapers report real-life events, and this arouses students’ curiosity. Newspaper-based activities in the classroom may engage students in enjoyable activities and encourage their further reading. Newspapers are an invaluable source of authentic materials. The more students read, the more they want to explore.

“People learn through reading, and reading about interesting new things in one’s interest subject, undoubtedly helps motivation”. (Paul Sanderson, 2002)

Newspapers are also a great source for ESP teachers. They can be used as teaching materials to develop students’ language skills. They can be used effectively with a wide range of levels from Elementary to Advanced, either interpreting them or using them as they are. Some newspapers are easy to read, easy to use. The committed teachers can design exercises to develop reading comprehension, critical thinking skills, writing skills, grammar skills, vocabulary, map/chart reading skills, geography skills, social study skills and more. Having a lot of newspapers and information the teachers should be careful with the way how to organize a certain activity using them. So, they are particularly suitable for mixed-ability classes, depending on the activity, questions, etc.
In planning a lesson using a newspaper, the teacher should take into consideration the length of the article, paragraph, the complexity of the language, the density of information, the subject-matter and content, the time available and the level of the students.
Another very important issue about newspaper use is materials collection. It is an on-going process and worth doing it. Choosing and collecting short articles, weather forecast, advertisements, headlines, etc. is a hard task, but we may use them at a later time and more than once for different students. So, it is necessary to be very careful in organizing newspaper materials. Once we start collecting them we should begin thinking to organize them, put under certain categories, systematize them, etc. Everyone has experienced many times the frustration when he/she knows that he/she has that piece of information but does not remember where he/she has put it. It is good to categorize the materials under certain titles, headlines, advertisements, etc. or under topic titles, sport, cinema, relationship, according to language level of students, etc. Of great importance are the use of the photographs and illustrations.
We should be careful to prepare these materials in good quality to use them again and again, and with every passing year we create folios and enrich them, then photocopy what we want for students’ use. We should not avoid using newspapers in the classroom only thinking that they are difficult for our students. It is true that the language there is difficult, but after all it is authentic. There are several ways of making newspaper materials usable for the various levels of students, by selecting interesting newspapers and the students will be interested in reading them and would skip some difficult expressions. A very important thing that enhances success in using newspapers in the classroom is the careful design of tasks. “Grade the task – not the material’ is a well-known maxim in language teaching’. (Paul Sanderson, 2002) In spite of the difficulty of the texts, the task should suit the level of students, this is more important than the difficulty of the text. The involvement of students in pre-activity, while-activity preparation techniques, in the selection of materials and in carefully designing the tasks are the key to success.

In this time I try to use media in intermediate level.
The material : Articles about Global Warming from one or two newspaper
Subject : Integrated Reading and Writing

Here are some pre-activity and while-activity preparation techniques that can be used in combination with one another: (Paul Sanderson, 2002)
1. Give the students the materials before the lesson; ask them to look for vocabulary at home
2. Explain any key vocabulary in the materials
3. Summarize the newspaper item
4. Ask the students to brainstorm what they know about the newspaper item
5. Tell the students the headline and show any accompanying photograph
6. Before reading, write on the board and explain key vocabulary
7. Ask the students to predict the story-line
8. Allow your students to use a dictionary during the activity
9. Encourage your students to go for the overall meaning of a text, rather than to understand every word
10. Encourage your students to bring to their reading their own world knowledge
11. Try to help the students in understanding the grammatical complexity of the text, facilitate to assimilate the density of information, guess the low-frequency vocabulary, etc. After doing the activities, teacher can give some exercises.
The newspaper activities might be a lot, interesting and multidimensional. They might be about the headlines, headline combinations, articles, categorizing articles, news flash, putting it back together, exchanging the news, ranking articles, press conference, filling in the gaps, news in brief, photographs, predicting photographs, famous faces, photo stories, moving pictures, putting the picture in the story, advertisements, classifying adds, role-plays ads, job interviews, horoscopes, problem page letters, TV guides, cartoons and strip cartoons, acting out cartoons, strip cartoon stories, weather forecast, predicting the weather, matching weather forecasts, newspaper reading corner, find some one who… special interest groups, newspaper puzzles, crosswords, and many others.

Generally, the advantages are:
1. It is not expensive (cheap)
2. Most newspapers are linguistically up-to-date and provide valuable linguistic data.
3. Easy to get it (we can buy it directly or by access internet and then print it out)
4. We can choose the materials which students interested
5. They may be used for the wide variety of text types and language styles, not often found in textbooks.
6. The newspaper is designed to make people interesting
7. Easy to bring
8. The materials can be used more than once but in different students
9. etc

1. Do not all of newspapers are easy to be understood by all level
2. Need time to prepare the lesson

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