February 2023: Students as journalists in English language classrooms

News stories provide a ready made context for students to produce language in order to express and share their own life experiences and creativity. Beyond guiding and supporting learners to use critical thinking and practise higher order thinking skills (HOTS), learners can also engage with the content through their own journalistic activities such as interviewing, creating headlines and articles, and presenting a news story.
Student journalism also offers an engaging opportunity for student generated material, mediating meanings and developing sub-skills in speaking and writing.

In this webinar, participants will explore ways of using creative journalistic activities which harness students’ life experiences, interests and cultures to scaffold memorable language development, with examples from Sensations English news stories. During this webinar, we’ll consider how to approach these resources in a safe and supportive classroom environment.


Gerald Smith is an English language teacher and journalist based in Glasgow, Scotland. As a journalist, Gerald has written about L1 discrimination, teacher professional development, and online tutor marketplaces for ELT. Gerald currently teaches at Glasgow School of English and the International Summer School for Teens and lives on a houseboat with his partner and two cats.

Gerald Smith

Sensations English lesson resources are great for today’s learners.

Sensations English was a finalist in the 2021 British Council ELTons award for Innovation in Learner Resources and won two British Council ELTons commendations! The first, for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, recognised the global and social range of our English learning content, covering contemporary issues and giving learners access to a wide range of issues and global English voices.

Secondly, we were the only winners of the British Council’s inaugural commendation for Environmental Sustainability and Climate Action! Our content covers such a diverse range of climate and sustainability content, opening learners’ minds to global issues and efforts to resolve them, giving learners the language to engage and raise their voices on this vital area of life.

How Sensations English works

Our lesson resources make equality, diversity and inclusion and sustainability a central element of language learning. We recognise learners as multi-competent speakers and multicultural citizens who are eager to share their ideas and engage with others on important topics in their lives.

The high-quality, global, news-based study resources take a person-centred approach, representing diverse cultures and identities across our seven learning themes. The wide range of video and article news reports includes interactive games and study tools which connect the issues with students’ language learning.

As all resources are graded at five levels (A2-C1), they make sometimes complex topics accessible to all learners. With Sensations English, it’s easy to explore language features and improve sub-skills using inclusive resources which also help to connect lessons to learners’ own situations and experiences. This helps learners to think about their own contexts and develop their own voices.