sábado, 10 de setembro de 2011

Artigo - Using news in the classroom

Check my article in the first online version of New Routes:

Using news in the classroom

Stimulate your students to read, write and speak through the use of authentic texts

By Vanessa Prata*

It is common to hear teachers complaining that students do not like reading and, therefore, they miss an excellent opportunity to improve their reading and writing skills, as well as raising their awareness about new vocabulary and grammar structures learned in class. However, what are you doing to stimulate your students to read more?
We have to agree that many times the texts in their coursebooks, even if authentic, are not exactly what one would like to read for pleasure, and we just read them because “they are there”. Besides, adapted texts may sound far-fetched, as they tend to focus on a specific grammar topic or some vocabulary that we would not find in real texts, for example, a reading passage full of sentences in the Present Perfect Tense.
Using news in the classroom is a way to provide authentic reading material and to help students notice collocations, chunks, new vocabulary and even grammar structures within a real context. It is also a way to stimulate debate by selecting articles that might arouse students’ interest, either because the topics are directly related to our reality or because of a global issue that is being discussed everywhere. Another point is that by using news from a variety of sources, as magazines and newspapers from different countries, the teacher can raise students’ awareness about text genres, register and style, and even about how other countries “see” Brazil.
It seems that it is more common to use “real” texts with Advanced levels, but even Basic or Intermediate students can benefit from reading authentic news reports. It is the teacher’s task to select appropriate material and to prepare adequate activities for each level, without adapting the text itself.
Here you have a few suggestions to use news in the classroom: