As teachers incorporate more real-world learning into their lessons, more are looking to authentic teaching materials such as news sources to hone lifelong skills in their students.
Approaches such as getting learners to stay abreast of the latest news and then discussing their implications on society can hone critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
The recent spotlight on misinformation and disinformation in the online space is another apt reminder of the importance of such media literacy and analytical skills.
To drive meaningful discussion around the infusion of contemporary issues into education, the Schools teams of both The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao are organising the second edition of the SPH Education Symposium.
The Straits Times Schools editor Serene Luo said: “We truly believe that learning about the news and its implications will give students a richer understanding of the world they live and operate in, so they can play a bigger part in it.
“We hope they can embark on their journeys through our print and edutech content.”
Supported by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism, the event on April 26 at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre is aimed at school leaders and educators and will feature a panel forum with Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health, as well as other education and media industry experts.
The panel will explore issues such as how educators can be further supported to use contemporary issues in their classrooms and the types of specific skills that can be honed by using the news in teaching.
Teachers from five schools will anchor a session showcasing innovative lesson plans based on news resources and platforms by The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao.
One of the educators who will be sharing her news-in-education pedagogy at the event is Ms Tan Jie Qi, the subject head of English language at Greendale Secondary School. Ms Tan said: “I use current affairs because I want to create a classroom environment which supports authentic learning, so that students will be engaged in learning and enjoy the lessons.”
She uses news articles to engage her students before teaching a particular topic, such as inference skills.
Ms Norhikmah Sohoi, a teacher at Madrasah Alsagoff Al Arabiah, will share how she and her colleagues use NewsEd – an online news portal by The Straits Times tailor-made for education – to teach Arabic, English and Malay languages through translation activities created using the platform.
“The use of contemporary issues in language teaching and learning makes language classrooms come alive as the pupils are dealing with authentic and constantly evolving issues. The pupils are then able to see the relevance of learning the language,” she said.
The panel forum and sharing segment will be conducted in both English and Mandarin. The audience can tune in to a simultaneous translation of the dialogue using wireless headsets.