For the inventive ways they used the news in their classrooms, four teachers received the Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) inaugural Innovative Educators Award at the SPH Education Symposium 2017 yesterday.
Ms Mavis Ho of Pasir Ris Secondary School and Mr Melvin Wang of Rosyth School used news from The Straits Times, while Ms Bek Su Ling of the School of Science and Technology, Singapore and Ms Tan Woon Foon of Teck Whye Primary School used material from the Chinese-language Lianhe Zaobao in their lessons.
Pasir Ris Secondary also tested the pilot version of NewsEd, a new portal launched by SPH that supplements news articles with learning activities for students.
A history and English teacher, Ms Ho, 27, asked her students to reflect on current affairs they read about on NewsEd through discussions, essays or debates.
Mr Wang, 32, the subject head of social studies and national education, was inspired by The Straits Times' News in a Minute feature to start a similar activity in his classes, getting students to write and present 60-second videos based on local or foreign news stories. He said: "Social studies emphasises active citizenry... I wanted to focus on how students could give back to the community and this had to start from an awareness of modern society."
The topic of engaging students in current affairs was a key talking point during the symposium with a panel that discussed the importance of knowing how to critique and evaluate news.
In his keynote address, guest of honour Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Education, said students needed to be taught how to navigate a virtual world overflowing with information.
"We need to develop a new skill in our education space of dealing with this information, in curating it adequately, for them to make sense of it, as they go from primary to secondary school," he said.
The award is one of the first events of the new SPH Innovative Educators Programme to build a community of educators that uses news resources to change the way students learn.