Making News: Teach All About It!
Teachers conference on "Newspapers for an Integrated Curriculum"

Singapore, 01 February 2005 A newspaper report about how a plucky 10-year-old girl saved more than 100 people from being swept away by killer tidal waves on Boxing Day because she remembered what she had learnt from geography lessons, taught readers the warning signs of tsunamis and some basic principles of currents.

Informative newspaper stories such as this can be used in teaching language skills or incorporated into almost any teaching curriculum, from science to mathematics.

To encourage more teachers to use newspapers as an effective instructional tool, the Press Foundation of Singapore (PFS) and the English Language and Literature Teachers Association of Singapore (ELLTAS) are joining forces to present a one-day conference on “Making News: Teach All About It! Newspapers for an Integrated Curriculum”, on 16 March 2005, at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.

This hands-on and interactive conference, from 9 am to 5.30 pm, will gather education experts and journalists to share their views and tips on the usefulness of newspapers in engaging students.

Specially designed for teachers of English and Literature, Mother Tongue subjects, Sciences and Humanities, in primary, secondary and junior college levels, the conference aims to attract up to 400 participants.

Mrs Sng Ngoi May, General Manager of Press Foundation of Singapore, said:“The daily newspaper is a valuable source for all types of information, which young people tend to overlook these days. Newspaper circulation trends have shown that the young, the next generation of likely readers, are failing to develop a newspaper reading habit.

"There are many good reasons to use newspapers in the classroom. It is versatile, inexpensive, and contains something for every student: Science as it happens, editorials on current topics, entertainment highlights, real math problems, classified ads, news, sports, weather, comics and so much more.

"Newspapers are current, relevant and bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world. They are living textbooks and write history as it unfolds, while creating interest in current events. When used to supplement the classroom curriculum, they can assist teachers to transcend learning from beyond the classroom to the community in which students live, and will positively influence students' motivation, attitude, academic skills and communication. "

Concurring, Dr Phyllis Chew, President of the English Language and Literature Teachers Association of Singapore, said: “Newspapers are the eyes and ears of the world and educationists cannot afford to ignore this fact. The integrated curriculum cannot afford to neglect the impact of the media. That is why education has to get out of the classroom and into the real world.”

The conference will have two plenary sessions. The first, Connecting The Classroom With the World Through Newspapers, will focus on how newspapers can be used as a “living textbook” to help students make connections with the real world and the communities in which they live.

The panel speakers for this session are:

  • Ms Bertha Henson, Supervising Editor (Home), The Straits Times
  • Ms Lee Kuan Fung, Editor of student supplement Popcorn, Lianhe Zaobao
  • Mr Mohd Zulkifli Rahmat, Deputy Editor, Berita Harian
  • Mr Noor Mohd Abdul Aziz, Deputy Edito, Tamil Murasu

This plenary session will be chaired by Associate Professor Kirpal Singh of English Literature, School of Economics and Social Sciences from the Singapore Management University.

Well-known Singapore author, Catherine Lim, who will deliver the second plenary session, The Sheherazade Impulse: Drawing Inspiration From Newspapers, said: “I’ll take on the Sheherazade role of the unstoppable, crafty story-teller and regale them with one tale after another, many inspired, directly or indirectly, by the newspaper.”

Ms Lim, who has written articles on sociolinguistics and the problematics of writing fiction in Singaporean English, was a lecturer at the Regional Language Centre (RELC) before becoming a full-time writer. She has authored various collections of short stories and several novels, including The Bondmaid, The Serpent’s Tooth and Following the Wrong God Home.

Apart from the plenary sessions, there are 16 workshops on the use of newspapers in specific subject areas. For example, there will be workshops on how to engage students through the use of English and vernacular newspapers, how the electronic media can enhance or limit gifted learners, and the use of information technology to make newspaper and storybook reading come alive. Workshops using the Malay and Chinese mother tongues will also be conducted.

Brief synopses of the 16 workshops and biodatas of the speakers are attached.

This is the second conference for teachers sponsored by the Press Foundation of Singapore, a charity organisation which was set up in early 2003 with an initial $20 million contribution from Singapore Press Holdings. Its core objective is to help build a lifelong learning society.

The conference fees are at a subsidised rate of $120 for early bird registrations by 28 February 2005 and $140 for registrations after 28
February. Registrations close on 8 March 2005. The registration fee includes resource materials, lunch and tea. All registrants will also
receive a Handy Resource Kit and a special conference edition magazine published by ELLTAS.

To register, please contact Ms Tammy Chua at Tel: 6338 2321 or email or go to

Issued by Press Foundation of Singapore Ltd Co. Regn. No: 200300910M

For more information and one-on-one interviews with conference/workshop speakers, please contact:

Ms Juliana Chong
Press Foundation of Singapore Limited
Tel: 6319 1895

Dr Phyllis Chew
English Language and Literature Teachers Association (Singapore)
Tel: 6790 3468

Ms Lena Loh
Conference Secretariat
Tel: 6338 2321 Fax: 6339 1372
Mobile: 9875 2991

About the Press Foundation of Singapore
The Press Foundation of Singapore, a registered charity and an Institution of Public Character, was set up in January 2003 to help build a lifelong learning community that embraces language enrichment, creativity, diversity, healthy living and sports. The first contribution of $20 million to the Foundation came from media group Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. For more information about the Foundation, please visit its website at

About the English Language & Literature Teachers Association (Singapore)
ELLTA(S) aims to provide language teachers with networking opportunities, not just with individuals, but with schools, tertiary colleges and
publishers. They seek always to publicise good teaching practices and current research findings and provide opportunities for members to exchange views and to engage in professional dialogue. For more information about ELLTA(S), please visit its website at

Conference Programme
8.00am Registration
9.00am Start of Conference / Welcome Note / Opening Address
9.20am Distinguished Panel:
Connecting the Classroom with the World Through Newspapers
10.50am Tea Break
11.20am Workshop Series
12.45pm Lunch
2.00pm Distinguished Keynote:
The Sheherazade Impulse - Drawing Inspiration from the Newspapers
3.15pm Workshop Series II
4.40pm Tea Break
5.30pm End of Conference

Workshop Series

Workshop 1: Engaging Learners Critically through English Language and Vernacular Papers An engaging and fun-filled workshop on the use of English and vernacular papers to enliven language classrooms. Teachers will discover new ways of using the newspaper to equip students with the literacy skills required of the English Language Syllabus. Parents will find out how the newspaper can be a valuable resource link to their children’s world of experiences and ideas and help create and sustain interesting communication lines.

Dr Maha Sripathy, currently with the National Institute of Education, is an experienced teacher educator who has worked with parents and teachers in Singapore and Australia in the area of literacy. She is regularly invited by schools to conduct critical and remedial reading and immersion writing workshops for teachers and to share creative ideas for nurturing thinking individuals. She is also known for her practical parent education workshops for schools and private organisations.

Workshop 2: Developing a Vocabulary for Composition Writing Learn how to use newspaper stories to help pupils develop an extensive
vocabulary for writing school compositions. This is suitable for upper primary and lower secondary teachers. There will be opportunities to work with newspaper stories and to develop examples for use in the classroom.

Dr Cheah Yin Mee is a consultant in English language and teacher education. She has over 25 years teaching experience and obtained her post graduate qualifications from Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Workshop 3: Reconstruct and Integrate!
A specially designed workshop to introduce strategies of integrated skills for language learning through a unique combination of dictogloss and cooperative learning techniques. Through hands-on activities, teachers will make use of newspaper articles and other print media to develop teaching strategies which can be used to help students have a range of different learning styles in language acquisition.

Dr Anula Samuel has been actively involved in education for the past 40 years in teaching, teacher-training and school administration. She has acquired a range of experience and understanding of the needs for effective teaching and learning techniques in different societies, mainly Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong and Indonesia. She incorporates counselling strategies and coping skills in her training programmes for teachers and students to develop strong and positive attitudes.

Workshop 4: Creative Writing through the Visual Arts
This interactive, interdisciplinary workshop will address different creative ways, ideas, techniques and possibilities to employ the art
columns and art reviews in the newspapers and art magazines as stimulators in students' creative writing, and how to link certain genres in the visual arts with written genres, including poetry, narratives, short stories and myth.

Dr Batia P. Horsky is an art historian and an educator. She is a faculty member of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and has taught at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, the Nanyang Technological University as well as the Singapore Ministry of Education. Her research focuses on museum education, management of arts programs, curriculum development and creativity.

Workshop 5: Guiding Gifted Learners: Reality and the Electronic Media
Gifted learners are well known to be avid readers. With the additional millions of books at Stanford and Oxford universities, the New York Public Library, and other libraries that Google intends to digitize, it will be exciting and confusing for the advanced learners to Google especially when conflicting evidence presents themselves. This workshop will discuss the various channels in which knowledge is obtained for a gifted learner in a secondary school, and the means by which the reality may be discerned. It will also discuss if learning for advanced learners is enhanced or limited by the electronic media.

Dr Teo Chua Tee’s areas of research include self-knowledge and volition studies of gifted children; virtues development, creativity and wellness, consultation and relationship studies; and teacher education. She has trained teachers at the world’s largest school, City Montessori School, India (1998), at the Unity in Diversity Foundation in Padang, Indonesia (2002); and at the Santitham Witthayakhom School in Yasothon, Thailand (2004).

Workshop 6: Fact to Fiction: Creating Story Grammars from Newspaper Articles
Newspaper articles reporting real life events embody structures that can be adapted for teaching the writing of fiction. Participants will be made aware of the key principles of these organisation features, then collaborate to design strategies to create story grammars for writing
better narrative compositions in class or during examinations.

Shila C. Fernandez is a lecturer at the National Institute of Education, and works with primary and secondary teacher trainees. She incorporates her experience as former HOD and journalist, and publisher in her tutorials and workshops. She is working on her doctorate thesis on critical thinking skills in language arts education.

Workshop 7: Teaching Factual Writing through the News
Participants will be given a brief introduction to selected rhetorical patterns commonly required in the classroom. They will exploit newspaper articles for content, organisation and vocabulary. Utilising these components as both a resource and a scaffold they will become aware of the process by which students come to grips with the realities and complexities of non-fiction writing.

Sandra Segeram is currently lecturing at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) and working with various institutions conducting both Academic and Business English courses in addition to writing and editing. She has been active in the field of education for more than 25 years, and has spent the last one and a half decades working in the area of Genre Analysis. Her primary focus is the use of rhetorical patterns/structures in the language classroom.

Workshop 8: Merombak Kontrak Nikah? Analisis Teks Secara Kritis dan Kreatif
Bengkel ini mengajak peserta menganalisis satu rencana tentang AIDS dari Berita Harian secara yang kritis dan kreatif. Selain dari itu gerak-kerja bagi meningkatkan kemahiran membaca dan menulis para pelajar akan dibincang sama.
(Rephrasing the Marriage Contract? A Critical and Creative Analysis of the Text Based on an article on AIDS and marriage from Berita Harian, participants in this workshop, will experience the techniques of analysing a text critically and creatively. From this exercise, methods on enhancing pupil’s reading and writing skills will be drawn and discussed.)

Profesor Madya Kamsiah Abdullah ialah Ketua Jabatan Bahasa dan Kebudayaan Melayu, Kumpulan Akademik Bahasa-bahasa dan Kebudayaan Asia di Institut Pendidikan Nasional Singapura. Beliau yang memperoleh ijazah Sarjana Pendidikan dari Universiti Malaya dan Doktor Falsafah dalam Jabatan Pendidikan Bandingan dan Antarabangsa dari Institut Pendidikan Universiti London pada tahun 1994 telah menulis beberapa buku tentang bahasa dan pendidikan Melayu dan kini giat membentang kertas kerja di dalam dan luar negara.
(Professor Kamsiah Abdullah is currently Head of Malay Language and Culture Division of the Asian Languages and Cultures academic group of the National Institute of Education, Singapore. She obtained her Master in Education from the University of Malaya and was conferred a Ph.D. from the Department of International and Comparative Education from the University of London in 1994. She had published several books on language and education and had been actively involved in presenting papers on Malay language education in
conferences at home and abroad.)

Workshop 9: Akhbar Penggalak Panca Kecerdasan
Penggunaan akhbar dalam pengajaran bahasa Melayu di peringkat sekolah menengah. Bengkel ini juga menggalakkan penggunaan berfikir secara kritikal dan kreatif bersandarkan pendekatan panca kecerdasan yang mengutamakan kepelbagaian kemahiran pelajar.
(Press as a Catalyst to Enhancing Multiple Intelligences The use of newspapers in the teaching of Malay Language at secondary school
level. By applying the Multiple Intelligence approach, this workshop hopes to underscore the importance of creative and critical thinking in the teaching and learning of the language.)

Saeda Buang bertugas sebagai pensyarah di Kumpulan Akademik Bahasa dan Budaya Asia (Melayu), Institut Pendidikan Nasional, Universiti Teknologi Nanyang. Pernah bertugas sebagai guru dan Ketua Jabatan di sekolah menengah dan maktab rendah. Berkelulusan Sarjana dari Universiti Nasional Singapura dan kini mengikuti kursus di peringkat Doktor Falsafah di Universiti Teknologi Nanyang.
(Saeda Buang is Lecturer, Asian Languages and Cultures Academic Group (Malay), National Institute of Education. She has many years of teaching experience at the secondary and pre-university levels. She received her MA from the National University of Singapore and is currently pursuing her Ph.D at the Nanyang Technological University.)

Workshop 10: 网上教学
本工作坊将演示在中学如何运用互联网开展华文教学。 参会者将观摩一些华文网上教学课件并讨论网上教学在理论与实践方面的若干问题和方法。
(Independent Learning via Internet This workshop will show how independent Chinese learning, referred to as ilearning, can take place via internet in secondary schools. Observe some of the Chinese ilearning packages and discuss questions in relation to this.)

张眉锁 (Zhang Meisuo)
(Zhang Meisuo has a MA in Applied Languages. Currently with Raffles Institution, he has 20 years of teaching experience in China and

Workshop 11: 从素材到教材――报章新闻的阅读教学计划
(How to Turn Newspapers into Instructional Materials After suitable re-developing, newspapers can be motivating and systematic
reading materials for students. This workshop aims to provide teachers with an idea of using newspapers as effective reading materials. They will also learn to identify, plan and prepare suitable materials for different students.)

陈亚凤 (Tan Ah Hong)
(Tan Ah Hong is a veteran in the education field with more than 25 years of teaching experience. She is currently a teaching fellow at the Asian Languages and Cultures Division, National Institute of Education. Prior to this, she was the HOD, Mother Tongue, at Greenview Secondary School and has spent many years teaching at secondary school level. She was also involved in developing instructional materials for primary school level at Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore. She was the Senior Head for the Educational Technology Division. With her years of experience, she believes that reading is key to developing language skills.)

Workshop 12: Making News Relevant to Education This is a panel discussion on how to make newspapers relevant for education. It focuses on how educators can use it as a teaching tool to sensitise learners in the use of language and context and raise awareness of current affairs.

Distinguished scholars from the ASEAN region. The panel will comprise distinguished representatives from the Malaysian English Language Teachers Association (MELTAS); the Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT); Thai Tesol; English Teachers ssociation – Taiwan; and the Korean Teachers Association (KOTESL); and last but not least, the China English Language Teachers Association.

Workshop 13: Newspapers as an Historical Resource History is constructed from available evidence. This workshop invites teachers to explore the use of newspapers as historical evidence and to encourage the planning of lessons which allow students to “do” history. The
session is suitable for teachers at the secondary level.

Chee Min Fui is a lecturer in the Humanities and Social Studies Education Academic Group, National Institute of Education. She taught History and English in a secondary school. She is interested in the links between English language development and the development of historical understanding in students.

Workshop 14: Using Newspapers to Teach in the Classroom A 10-year-old girl saved more than 100 lives during the tsunami disaster on Boxing Day because she applied what she had learnt in a geography lesson. The newspaper report of her account taught us many things - some warning signs of tsunamis, and some geographical principles of currents. In addition, newspaper articles can be used to teach many things - from science and mathematics to the style or writing effectively on any subject.

Hedwig Alfred is a science graduate from the University of Singapore who worked as a teacher in junior colleges and secondary schools before joining The Straits Times as a reporter. She covered several beats in her years at the paper, specialising in education and schools. She was News Editor of The New Paper when she decided to go back to teaching, in an independent school. After having two children, she stopped full-time work and now combines her two careers by teaching journalism and editing educational publications.

Workshop 15: E-Fiction or 'Faction': Making Reading Come Alive with I.T. Newspapers and storybooks can be made to come alive for expressive reading & multiple ancillary activities with a computer. The computer's strengths can be used to enhance and not replace the process of enjoying a good old read of newspaper articles or fictional works. Workshop participants will be introduced to ways to make reading in the class a fun and multi-faceted activity.

Janet George has been in the field of education for the past 25 years, designing and conducting teaching and training programmes to meet a wide range of professional and personal needs. She is a part-time lecturer and associate trainer in communication at tertiary institutions and training organisations. Her research interests are effective communication, multi-literacy and children's literature.

Workshop 16: Newsbash - Integrated Science Teaching with the Newspaper Participants will gain an insight into how the newspaper can be harnessed to develop an integrated lesson in a primary science classroom. Using a selection of newspaper texts, the session will model teaching a science lesson and connecting it with other disciplines. Following the modeling, participants will be given the opportunity to develop an integrated lesson using given newspaper articles.

Monica Sharma Menon is an experienced teacher at Stamford Primary with a keen interest in experimenting with novel ideas in her classroom. Her lessons are aimed at capturing the interests of her learners and extending their learning potential in a meaningful, practical and engaging manner. Her research interests are in the area of supported learning, literacy development and discourse analysis.


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