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TEACHING AID

By Vision Reporter

Added 15th July 2009 03:00 AM

WITH a cut-out of a news-paper as his teaching reference, Ngabirano Mpazi, the head teacher of Kisya Primary School, walked to the front of the classroom with a piece of chalk in his hand.

WITH a cut-out of a news-paper as his teaching reference, Ngabirano Mpazi, the head teacher of Kisya Primary School, walked to the front of the classroom with a piece of chalk in his hand.

By Arthur Baguma
NEWSPAPERS Are a living textbook

WITH a cut-out of a news-paper as his teaching reference, Ngabirano Mpazi, the head teacher of Kisya Primary School, walked to the front of the classroom with a piece of chalk in his hand.

The cut-out was a news story of about 200 words from The New Vision with which he took the “pupils” through an interesting English lesson.

This was at the end of a training workshop about Newspapers in Education (NiE) for primary school head teachers in Rukungiri organised by The New Vision.

At the end of the demonstration session, over 200 teachers had gone through an interesting experience on learning to prepare lessons in any subject, including mathematics, using newspapers as a teaching aid.

Fausta Rubagangara, the head teacher of Kihunge Primary School, noted that the NiE approach to learning and teaching is participatory and a practical way of relating what is happening in the world to the classroom environment.

With a shortage of teaching materials in most schools, NiE can lead to effective teaching methods without using a regular text book.

Participants noted that the newspaper is a living textbook which summarises information which you would find in four different textbooks.

“I have learned that a newspaper is an integration of all subjects and an innovative way of improving performance in schools,” remarked Hillary Mworozi, the head teacher of Marashaniro Primary School.

NiE is a global movement which has not been effectively utilised in Uganda.

However, in the developed world, it has been an effective teaching method which started in 1955.

For example, in a three-year study of NiE in Volusia County, Florida, US, students who read newspapers showed significantly superior spelling and vocabulary skills and had a superior understanding of social issues compared to their counterparts who did not use newspapers.

John Tereraho, the district education officer for Rukungiri, said the NiE approach will enable pupils develop into confident, competent and competitive people.

“The NiE project is very important. The initiative by The New Vision is timely because today, it matters how much information you have,” Tereraho said.
He advised teachers to use their efforts and the school environment to enable pupils to dream about greater things in life through accessing information.

Patrick Byamugisha, the district inspector of schools in Rukungiri, echoed similar views, citing newspapers as key to providing credible information. He said most scholars quote newspapers and refer to them when carrying out research.

Newspapers contain something of interest for everyone — sports, fashion, world news, events and so have the advantage of appealing to any level of learner and can, therefore, be used to teach any subject at any educational level.

Jamesa Wagwau, the NiE coordinator, says observations in city schools indicate that the classroom environment is dead.

He noted that teachers do not use learning aids which can be displayed in classrooms to encourage incidental learning.

Incidental learning is where pupils acquire knowledge without realising it, an environment NiE is trying to revive.

John Eremu, the special projects coordinator, tipped teachers that with the new format of examining by the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB), NiE will give them an edge to equip their pupils with better skills to pass exams.

Eremu said the change in setting exams from recall/rote to testing higher cognitive skills, calls for regular reliance on newspapers.

TEACHING AID

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