Professor Ronald Binkney sees a variety of types of students in his night classes at Troy University’s Brunswick campus.
His students range in age from their early 20s to their late 60s. Many work full-time and come from multiple career fields. Most are returning to education after years away from the classroom.
“It’s great to see that here,” he said. “And it’s interesting, especially when they get to be a little bit older, that they’re still coming to get an education.”
The lessons that Binkney teaches, however, are universally crucial. In his “Fundamentals of Grammar and Writing” class this semester, which meets once a week, Binkney covers the basics of writing and how to find one’s own voice when putting a pen to paper.
And for several years, Binkney has used The Brunswick News as an alternative teaching tool, to go over important aspects of learning to be a strong writer.
The newspaper supplements the class textbook, and he said it provides more familiar examples of writing with which the students can work.
“They can relate to it and they can identify with it,” he said.
Binkney uses the newspaper to introduce his students to the concept of plagiarism and to show them the importance of attribution.
He teaches them about direct and indirect quotes. And most importantly, he shows the students how to credit others for their words.
Being authentic in one’s writing, Binkney said, is necessary in and out of the classroom.
“It’s better to give other people credit than to lose your job,” he said.
The newspaper articles also provide his students with quality examples to improve their writing. The articles show how to avoid sentence fragments and run-on sentences, how to use proper subject-verb agreement and how to write with correct verb tense.
“The newspaper is a good tool,” said Alecia Mungin, a student in Binkley’s class. “The information is accessible, and the people writing it are trained in writing.”
Binkney teaches the building blocks of writing, and the newspaper is the perfect tool with which to do so, he said.
“I can fall in and out the newspaper quite conveniently,” he said.
Teachers at all levels can begin using newspapers in the classroom.
All it takes is a phone call to The News at 265-8320 ext. 356. Summer Whitten would be happy to sign up teachers to get their newspapers twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.