Thursday, January 20, 2005

Newspapers as a Teaching Resource for Adult Learners

Newspapers as a Teaching Resource for Adult Learners. Here are some ideas for teaching adult students using newspapers. I think with a little effort, this approach could be used to teach information literacy and library skills. One example could be to compare a recent report on a news story from the National Enquirer and your local paper. Which is more credible? And why? I think student would learn from such a lesson.

From the site:

Despite the existence of the "Newspaper in Education" (NIE) program in many elementary and secondary schools, the newspaper remains an often overlooked resource which can be incorporated into almost any teaching curriculum, and which is particularly useful for teaching older remedial students and adults. This Digest discusses some ways in which newspapers can be used in teaching language skills and basic literacy to adults and learning disabled students, as well as to students of English as a Second Language.


Newspapers can be a valuable tool for teachers who work with adult education students. Fenholt (1985) outlines a series of activities that employ the newspaper as a learning resource to develop both reading and life skills. Her contention is that regular elementary level reading materials fail to motivate readers at the adult level and might be embarrassing for some adults to use. She sees the newspaper as a more comfortable instructional fit for adult learners. Fenholt's activities booklet is aimed at adults who want to read on an intermediate level and pass the graduate equivalency diploma (GED) test.

Fenholt's observation that adults might be more comfortable learning with a newspaper than with instructional materials aimed at children is borne out in the case studies in a United Nations publication, "Newspapers in Adult Education: A Sourcebook" (1998). According to the sourcebook, many countries (including Argentina, Cameroon, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and South Africa) promote newspaper-education partnerships to improve the education of their adult citizens. The 10 cases presented in the sourcebook offer examples of how partnerships between educators and newspapers can play an active role in making adult education more attractive and effective and in preparing informed citizens. Mohanty's "Adult Education: Some Reflections" (1989), a compilation of articles about adult education in India, also highlights this type of "non-formal education in the learning society," as he calls it. One article specifically considers rural newspapers and their role in lifelong learning and post literacy (Schmetzer, 2000).

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