My conversations with students and teachers reveal that many of them do not read newspapers and hence lack general knowledge (Help teenagers develop critical reading skills through newspapers, Nov 16).
Teachers lament that students lack general knowledge, but it is obvious that their own lack of general knowledge contributes to the problem.
I expect teachers of English and literature to take a keener interest in what is happening around them through reading newspapers, so that they can disseminate knowledge to their students. Reading beyond their teaching materials and syllabi is vital.
I explained to them that newspapers carry models of clear and concise writing that can stand alone as teaching tools or be supplemented with other instructional materials.
Newspapers contain many different types of writing models - narrative, persuasive, expository - and are written for various reading levels that would help students.
Newspapers also help teachers bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world by extending the boundaries of knowledge, and help teachers and students feel like a part of the world.
Teachers can instil the habit of newspaper reading in children, who should be encouraged to read for pleasure, as well as to be informed of what is happening around them.
I hope the Ministry of Education will take a closer look at how teachers can improve their general knowledge by reading newspapers and using other sources.
V. Subramaniam (Dr)