The English teachers usually do their best to equip their students with the necessary tools appropriate to contemporary life. Since the Internet, news and mass media play a crucial role in our modern society, the implementation of media into the ESL classroom is one of the main concerns of the English teachers. In our previous article, we have already touched upon the topic of media literacy in the ELT classroom. In this article, we are going to provide some tips on how to use mass media and what resources can be found helpful for English teachers.
Why to use media?
It is needless to say that teachers and education should prepare students for their real life. In this respect, media work as important tools to provide people with information about the world. Therefore, no matter what type of media is used, be it a magazine, a newspaper, an advertisement or a short video, it is aimed at bringing a piece of real world into the classroom. Apply media into your lessons when you want to:
- Introduce a real life situation,
- add a discovery component,
- use authentic audio-visual channels,
- get students to become more involved in the lesson,
- hold a discussion on nowadays’ life, events, accidents,
- conduct a lesson based on your students’ interest and hobbies.
Types of media and activities for the classroom
A Newspaper is one of the oldest types of mass media known to humanity. It can be used in the classroom to improve reading skills and to boost student’s knowledge of current affairs. Here are a number of activities that can be carried out with newspapers:
- Guess the headline: Cut out a number of headlines from different news, mix them and distribute to your students together with articles. Ask them to read the news and match them with the appropriate headlines.
- Predicting stories by looking at photographs: Give your students photos taken from newspapers, ask them to look at these photographs and predict what the news might be about. Accept all possible answers. When they have finished, read out the original article. Get your students to compare the original news with their created ones and name similarities and differences.
- Weather forecast: This activity can be implemented even with your kids when you have covered the topic of weather. Ask them to use their phones or search on the Internet and find out what the weather will be like for the next week. Motivate them to write a short article about the weather forecast for their school newspaper.
Magazines are another great source of materials to use with English learners. They keep your students motivated and get them to talk and hold interesting discussions with their peers. One of the advantages of reading magazines, apart from its vocabulary is that they are rich in pictures and they stimulate verbal and written stories. Here are several ideas on how to work with magazines:
- Gossiping about celebrities: Choose the latest news about celebrities from magazines. Remove the names of famous people from the news and ask your students to work in groups and read them. They should discuss the gossips and come up with the names of celebrities. If they find it difficult, you can provide them with several photos of famous people.
- Problem pages: Start by brainstorming kinds of problems students can come across on a problem page. Separate the class into 2 groups, give the first group a cut-up copy of a problem and the given advice. Ask them to read quickly and then mingle and find the corresponding problem and advice. After completing the activity, they can also discuss whether they agree or disagree with the advice. With the help of this task, your students will practise modal verbs, such as should, ought to, might, may and will boost their critical thinking. Here you can find an online activity on problem pages taken from British newspapers. Some other interesting ideas and exercises can be also found on Skills Workshop.
Audio recordings and television
Radio, podcasts and television can serve as perfect tools to improve your students listening skills, to introduce new vocabulary, to make your students get used to the speed of the reporter’s speech and to hold heated discussions.
- Listening comprehension: First your students listen to the latest news on the radio and get the main topic, ask questions to find out whether they have grasped the information or not. Then discuss the new vocabulary that was used in the news. Finally, get them to retell the news using the new words.
- Write a letter to the reporter: Ask your students to listen to the news and then to write a letter to the reporter expressing their opinions, complaints or disagreement.
The website represents world news for students learning English. The news is introduced in three different levels for English learners both in written and audio forms. The website is updated almost every day.
Here you can find various articles from many different spheres like science, technology, health, education, etc. Each article is marked with its appropriate level. One of the main advantages of this website is that it also provides us with the vocabulary and exercises to check student’s comprehension.
There are a number of sections that this website offers, ranging from news review to words in the news. Each section comes with either audio recording or an article, and lots of exercises to practise new words and phrases.
Here you can find different news for elementary to upper-intermediate levels. It also provides us with vocabulary exercises, online quizzes, sentence dictations.
Of course, there are many other activities and ways to use mass media in the classroom and many more resources to follow daily news. However, the ones introduced in the article have already helped me a lot in my classes and, hopefully, you will enjoy them as much as I do.