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  • Writer's pictureBeccy Fox

The demise of the newspaper?

It was a big week last for newspapers in Hong Kong with the closure of the pro-democracy paper, Apple Daily. It was a big week for newspapers at our school as well. Year 4 have undertaken a papier-mâché project. The call went out to families to bring in newspapers from home. Very few were forthcoming. Back in the olden days when I was a classroom teacher, I always had a pile of newspapers in the classroom. They were mainly used to cover the table for painting, or other art projects. It was no trouble sourcing a supply of old newspapers back then. Nowadays, in this digital age, it is more difficult.

The paper print is still popular in Hong Kong, but mainly with the elderly. The Apple Daily allegedly did a final print run of a million, for saddened Hong Kongers to be able to get hold of the final edition. However, none were on their way to the Year 4 art project. In the end, the teacher managed to source some from the foyer of her apartment block and the project could continue.

A few weeks ago I was teaching a Year 3 class who were working towards writing a newspaper article. The first activity for them was to explore the word “newspaper”. “My Grandad reads one,” said one student. “It’s old” said another. Some of them knew what a newspaper was. Some did not, but were able to talk about the news being on the internet and television.

A similar conversation was had when the same class were going to write a postcard from a traveller on the Silk Road. A summative activity to see how much these students had understood about the Silk Road. However, they did not know what a postcard was, or a stamp! In this fast paced digital era, it is easy to forget to look through the students’ lens and design our learning activities around their experiences, around their world. Maybe writing an Instagram post or a Tweet would have been more suitable.

In this fast moving, ever-changing digital age, when we plan our learning experiences and lessons for our students, we need to remember to look at them through their eyes, to keep them relevant, while maintaining the learning outcomes. Are newspapers, and postcards, like the Apple Daily, now consigned to the history, rather than the language, lesson?


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