JOHOR BARU: A group of 155 teachers from primary and secondary schools here took part in the New Straits Times’ Newspaper-in-Education (NIE) workshop at the Grand Bluewave Hotel, today.

Organised by the Johor English Language Teaching Association (Jelta), today’s programme was the second NST-NIE to have been conducted at the same venue in 19 years.

Jelta president Vincent D'Silva said the NIE allowed teachers here to attend an English language workshop on the same platform for the first time.

"We noticed the energy and engagement involved. It made learning more interesting and fun.

"I hope that today's workshop will provide new insights (to the participants) in English language teaching, and perhaps, provide more strength to help (them) face the ever-increasing challenges in classrooms.

"I believe that by (their) attendance today, (the teachers) will become ambassadors in providing knowledge to others," said D'Silva.

The workshop was conducted by NST Education Editor, Hazlina Aziz and NIE facilitator, Tengku Shahraniza Tengku Abdul Jalal.

Johor Baru Education Office English Language officer Vijayan Narayanan said the workshop encouraged teachers to think outside the box.

"It is a day out of their normal class routine, when they can exchange ideas," he said.

Johor Education Department English Supervisor Muhammad Hilmi Ismail said newspapers such as the NST can become a catalyst for student to discuss issues.

"Students are attracted to different sections, such as Sport, News and Life & Times, which feature topics on the environment, education and hobbies, which interest them," he said.

Hilmi said Jelta and NST's collaboration was in line with the department's aspirations to support 21st-century teaching methods, online learning and education technology.

SK Sri Tebrau English teacher Shobha Vijayakumar, who grew up reading the NST, said that many parts of the paper could be used in the classroom.

"For the Day of English Arts at school, I would set a topic, such as ‘Healthy Living’ and ask students to get photos and text from the paper to learn about nutrition by making the food pyramid, for instance," she said.

SK Bukit Mutiara English teacher, Mohd Fahmi Mohd Zaid, said he uses the NST in the classroom, as the language used is simple and catches the attention of his students.

"Teaching children who come from different backgrounds, including poor families, means that they may not have the luxury of things like broadband. So I use tools such as the newspaper and YouTube videos screened in the computer lab to teach topics such as animals, occupations and the environment," he said.

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(File pix) Jelta president Vincent D'Silva said the NIE allowed teachers here to attend an English language workshop on the same platform for the first time. (pix by HAIRUL ANUAR RAHIM)