Monday, 24 November 2014

School newspapers - why not make them in English?

A school newspaper is a great way for students to get involved and be creative. If you launch an issue in English, they can get creative and develop their English writing skills at the same time. However, as exciting as this may sound to you, your students might find it as tad less so. So, how to get them involved? The good news is, you're the teacher and they pretty much have to do whatever you tell them. But since one of the goals is to get them excited about it, here are some suggestions:

  • Extracurricular activity or  journalism classes. If you have the option to offer journalism classes and you have students, willing to participate, then you shouldn't have any major problems getting the content for your newspaper.
  • If the above isn't an option for you, you could always use the assignments/essays that your students have to hand in as homework. Just choose the best ones and ask for permission. Most of them will be happy to have something published in the student newspaper.
  • Extra credit. It does wonders. Also, it motivates the students that would usually be beyond your reach - the ones that don't seek attention, that aren't all that ambitious or even the ones that usually settle for a pass. But come the end of the year, they suddenly realise they wouldn't mind a chance for a higher grade at all.
And what to include in the newspaper? Apart from the essays the students have to write for their homework assignments, you could ask them to do interviews (or even make them up), field trip reports, write poems, draw comics, design riddles and crossword puzzles from different vocabulary fields, write book reviews, run an advice column (which is great for practising modal verbs and "if I were you" structures, by the way!) and so on. Basically the same things you would ask them to do for your regular school newspaper, only in English. 

The first student newspaper in English I edited was not at all impressive. It was actually just a supplement to our regular student newspaper. I only got the idea for it in June, so I quickly found those few students willing to bring some of their old assignments and put those together. This is what I got:

But the next year I prepared in advanced - which basically means I chose titles for homework assignments wisely. :) We only made one issue in that school year and it was still published only as a supplement, but it had 11 pages. You can see them HERE.

What's your experience with school/student newspapers? Also, what's your attitude towards error correction? Given that you still want the contributions to be original and not your own work. Do comment on that! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment