MAGAZINES IN LANGUAGE TEACHING
Banu Koçaş (Teacher & Education consultant)
There is no doubt that media facilitates language learning for both instructed and non-instructed learners. In this article I will mainly mention magazines as a means of media which had a great impact on my reading and communication skills, let alone my language skills.
I will take you to my childhood now. That was quite some time ago, when we only had newspapers, magazines, books and radio as means of media.
As a child in primary school my parents never told me what, when and how to read. In order to arouse interest in me for reading, they would intentionally leave a weekly magazine on the coffee table with an open page that might interest me, pretending that it was a casual action. None of the house chores would cause its removal off the table until I was attracted to it. The most interesting magazine in those days was Doğan Kardeş for school children but my attention was mainly focused on “Hayat” magazine – Turkish version of “Life” magazine.
After setting an eye on the open page of my interest, I would finally begin to read it and also the other pages of some interesting stuff ranging from famous people, sports, advertisements of new technology household appliances, fashion, overseas lands and cities, etc. During this phase of my reading, I would ask questions to my mother which she usually answered with another question to make me think more or gave me some background information.
The next step would be a discussion at dinner, moderated by my mother as all my previous questions were directed to her. Of course both my parents involved me in the conversation so that I could mention my opinion. Incredible memories! I still treasure them.
My childhood memories helped me teach English to my students of various ages and backgrounds through media, especially magazines or cut outs from magazines. During my teaching years, more than 30 years in fact, means of media changed drastically, from the green eyed Phillips radio of my childhood to smart phones, tablets and PCs. People can now get access to all sorts of media in no time at all through this ever expanding new technology. One research says that one-fifth of Generation Z (people between the ages of 10 and 25) is spending more than five hours per day on TikTok, prime social media of today. Incredible isn’t it?
However, I would never give up on magazines. Why?
- They help teachers to motivate students by bringing a bit of real life into the classroom.
- The visual impact is great.
- They also present the language in a more communicative context.
- By using magazines in the language classroom, we can provide our students with content, meaning and guidance.
- Use of authentic material will increase their interest as they will be focusing in a world outside the classroom.
- More importantly, magazines can address all learning styles.
A lesson using a magazine can be structured just like my parents approach:
- The first one is the motivation and information phase. I was motivated by the open page of the magazine and with the counter questions that my mother asked making me read more to understand.
- She also gave me some background information if I was stuck which helped me with the comprehension of the article and this can be considered as the input phase.
- Then at dinner I and both my parents talked about the articles that helped me practice what I learned so this phase can be regarded as the focus phase.
- This phase was connected with the transfer phase as my parents mentioned their experiences related to the context (sometimes I had a feeling that they made them up), and we all made our personal comments.
- This is exactly how I planned my magazine lessons with the addition of feedback phase.
There are a huge number of magazines in the target language you are teaching. However, you can also find magazines that are graded from A1 to C1 Common European Framework levels that will help you start teaching the target language with magazines as a supplementary to your course book or as extensive reading as early as possible.
Please visit www.elilanguagemagazines.com to find out about the magazines ELI PUBLISHING has been distributing all over the world in different languages for more 35 years. ELI magazines offer an array of information and numerous news items about current events, which students do not find in their usual course books.