4 Ways to Educate Your Child Using Current Events

by Christine Chadwick

In addition to academics, it is important for students to begin developing strong soft skills during their academic career. Soft skills refer to a person's behavior and personality. These skills become habits and traits that affect how a student will interact with classmates, instructors, and future employers. Including current events in an educational program is a creative way to develop the student's communication, critical thinking, and constructive criticism skills.

Here are three ways to use current events to develop these skills within your child:

Listen: what are the details?

Read a news story from the paper out loud. After you have finished reading it, ask your child who, what, where, and when questions pertaining to the article. Depending on the grade level, the article and questions can increase in difficulty. A child in a higher grade level should be asked questions that require more attention to detail. This exercise can improve the student's listening skills, which are imperative for effective communication. Ignoring details or failing to pay attention can cause miscommunications.

Debate: why is it news?

Using the same article, ask your student to explain why the article is newsworthy. This exercise can sharpen a student's critical observation skills. Reasons a story is newsworthy could include its impact on the community, a rare event, relationship to a well-known person, or historical significance.

In addition to improving critical observation skills, understanding why a story is newsworthy can give your child a broader understanding of cause and effect relationships. If students disagree on why an article is newsworthy, they can practice negotiation and persuasion skills through an intellectual debate.

Editing: give and receive constructive criticism.

Parents can use current events to develop their child's writing and critiquing skills. Editing can improve a student's own writing skills, while developing his or her ability to give and receive constructive criticism. Begin by providing your child with an essay or article based on a current news story. When writing the sample news story, intentionally include common spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Also, include factual errors that will require the student to research the original news story. The purpose of the assignment is to let your child recognise the errors and edit them.

Assign him or her the task of editing your article and providing constructive feedback. Your child's written feedback should note your mistakes and reference sources. This exercise can reinforce both writing skills and the aforementioned soft skill of constructive criticism.

Speaking: use current events to inform or persuade.

Current events are a perfect platform to develop a student's public speaking skills. The three types of speeches taught in public speaking courses are informational, persuasive, and special occasion.

Tags: soft skills debate listen
Categories: Parents