News Report: An Engaging ESL Activity

Activities Discussion roleplay
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Have your Students Present Their Own News Show!

This was an idea I had about having students making up their own live-action news report kind of like a live TV show. I think I might have been watching the Nightly News when this idea came to mind. what I figured I could do is have students research news stories and then present the different news stories from different sections of the paper.

All in all, it was very successful. Students got a chance to present something they were interested in and the other students in the class got to learn possibly new vocabulary and new expressions. I think one of the best things you can do is to give students something that engages them. Just practicing lines on learning vocabulary or answering questions from a book is not as engaging as actually having to create your own dialogue and then take questions after your presentation.

It’s a great chance for students to get the practice they need to speak in front of a crowd and to feel a sense of accomplishment. If you have the resources another thing you can do is to record on a video. I did that for some of my classes and then I sent the students their presentation and had them find 5 things wrong with it.

The Method Behind the Madness

There is a method behind my madness. I read a very interesting article today on the Mormon’s method for teaching missionaries a language in a relatively short time. They learned what would normally take most of us years to master in a matter of weeks. Roleplay and using the language principles they had just attained were the key to mastering them.

This, of course, is a fairly high-level ESL exercise. I have also done this with lower-level classes and told them that they could use newspapers in their own language and just translate the news as best they could for a presentation. Even though it is hard you will be surprised how some students can rise to the occasion.

Jim’s English Class News Report

Look in the paper and find some interesting news from various sections of the newspaper. I recommend the Korean Herald as it is easy to access both on the web and in the library. Each member of the group will pick a story from a section.

Sports      Economics      Politics       Domestic       International      Education

Daily Issues         Editorial         Business          Family                Local

If for example there is not much information in the story you can always do a little research to add to the information that is there. Also, you can add some background information on the person or group in the story. For example, if you wanted to talk about Jason Mraz and his concert in Seoul you could include some background on the singer. What genre does he sing? How many times has he been in Seoul? Why do you like him?

ESL Presentation using newspapersHere are some other questions you can answer:

  • Why did this news item interest you?
  • What are some of the ramifications of this news?
  • Is it good news or bad news?
  •  Etc.

Each member of the group should present a different story from a different section of the paper. Remember the presentation style and questions answered and asked will change based on the story or section. A letter from the editorial page will probably be presented differently than a story from the international section.

Good luck, have fun, and I look forward to being informed and entertained by your live-action newspaper.

Make It Real and Exciting!

I hope that this class activity was as fun and engaging for you, as it was for my classes. Feel free to take the text I have here and change it for your individual class. I think at the time I did this Jason Mraz was visiting Seoul, so that’s why I included him in my paper.

Try to find things that your students can relate to, so they can get a good idea of how to do this project. Good luck and remember as I always say, Teaching English is Fun!


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