Teachers should read newspapers

WHEN I had lunch with two secondary school teachers recently, I was taken aback when both admitted they did not read newspapers.

The Straits Times was not part of their daily reading diet, and they were ignorant of the Forum pages.

I had expected these teachers of English and literature to take a keener interest in what was happening around them, so that they could disseminate more informed knowledge and wisdom to their students.

I explained to them that newspapers carry models of clear and concise writing that can stand alone as teaching tools, or supplement other instructional materials such as the Internet.

Newspapers contain different types of writing models – narrative, persuasive, expository – and are written for various reading levels to help students. They also help teachers bridge the gap between the classroom and the “real world” by extending the boundaries of knowledge.

By reading newspapers, educators’ interest in new teaching techniques will be heightened, while their intellectual skills and critical and independent thinking are sharpened for the benefit of their students, who are being nurtured to become active citizens.

Newspapers also air the grievances of the people and help shape public opinion, serving to link the public and the Government.

It is imperative that the Education Ministry ensure teachers read beyond their teaching materials and syllabuses.

The reading habit has gradually waned with the advent of high-tech devices. It needs to be reawakened in our society so that we can keep up with the rest of the world.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)

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