Teachers become students at ST course on writing

Workshop participants during a group activity. At the workshop, participants had a go at writing a feature article within 50 minutes. They also broke into groups to create lesson plans.
Workshop participants during a group activity. At the workshop, participants had a go at writing a feature article within 50 minutes. They also broke into groups to create lesson plans.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Participants learn techniques of writing features, an O-level component

Infusing journalistic practices into teaching is at the heart of a new workshop developed by The Straits Times Schools team for English teachers, and it was held for the first time this week .

Named "In the Shoes of a Journalist - Get to the Heart of the Matter", the full-day course taught secondary school English educators how newsroom techniques could be applied to writing features - a component in the GCE O Level English Paper 1 Section B.

Two separate workshops were held, one yesterday and one on Monday. A total of about 40 participants, mostly English-language teachers, learnt about various elements of feature writing, including identifying its purpose, crafting the lede - opening paragraph - of the article and setting the story's context.

"It was good to hear from (journalism) practitioners because we are limited by our experiences as teachers. Through this workshop, we can bring authentic experiences to our students," said Ms Yao Lingyun, 33, a Language Arts teacher from Nanyang Girls' High School.

At the start of each session, the participants heard from correspondent Ang Yiying, a member of the ST Schools team, about how the newsroom works.

AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE

It was good to hear from (journalism) practitioners because we are limited by our experiences as teachers. Through this workshop, we can bring authentic experiences to our students.

'' MS YAO LINGYUN, a Language Arts teacher from Nanyang Girls' High School.

Mr David Tay, a former teacher now with the ST Schools team, co-designed the workshop curriculum with Between The Lines Learning Space, an education consultancy.

He said: "The course integrates journalistic processes and values with classroom pedagogies, so that educators are empowered to create feature article lessons which are more in line with how it is done in the real world. "

Participants also tried writing a feature article within 50 minutes, and broke into small groups to create lesson plans.

Ms Leow Li Quin, 47, an English teacher from Crest Secondary School, said: "The workshop is a good way to see what strategies there are to write news stories and to teach students more about the news."

The workshops also drew attendees who are not teachers, such as Mr Phua Di Sheng, 24, a programme executive at non-profit Yong-en Care Centre.

He said: "I wanted to learn how to improve my writing, so I can present ideas and stories about (the centre's) clients accurately and convincingly."

•For more information about the ST Schools programme and its offerings, visit www.straitstimes.com/stschools

•To know more about training and workshops by ST Schools, e-mail Mr David Tan at davtan@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2016, with the headline 'Teachers become students at ST course on writing'. Print Edition | Subscribe