Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Music in Teaching English

Music in Teaching English


Music can be used in the classroom to create a learning environment; to build listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills; to increase vocabulary, and to expand cultural knowledge. Using Songs in Instruction Most classroom music activities focus on lyrics. They contain common, short words and many personal pronouns, the language is conversational time and place are usually imprecise (except for some folk ballads); the lyrics are often sung at a slower rate than words are spoken with more pauses between utterances, and there is repetition of vocabulary and structures. These factors allow learners to understand and relate to the songs.
A further benefit of pop song lyrics is that their meanings are melted, and, like poetry, allow for many different interpretations. Through songs, students discover the natural stretching and compacting of the stream of English speech. Students may summarize orally the action or theme of a song or give oral presentations about a song or musician, playing musical selections for the course. Many songs tell a story, and these stories can be rewritten or retold to practice narrative or summarizing. Pop songs are written to be easily understood and enjoyed.
As discussed above, they tend to use high frequency lyrics that have emotional content. This makes them strong candidates for word study or reinforcing words already learned through written means. If a series of songs is to be used, students can be teamed up and given a song to teach the class. However, the songs may also have idioms in them that might be difficult to explain, depending on the level of the students.
Cultural Knowledge Activities Songs can be used in discussions of culture. They are a rich source of information about human relations, ethics, customs, history, humor, and regional and cultural differences.
Selecting Music
1.    Song lyrics should be clear and loud, not submerged in the instrumental music.
2.     The vocabulary load for the song should be appropriate to the proficiency level.
3.    Songs should be pre-screened for potentially problematic content, such as explicit language, references to violent acts or sex, or inappropriate religious allusions. Teachers will show care and effort when presenting songs they are especially fond of, their favorites are also good.
Finally, students are often strongly motivated to learn the lyrics of a new pop song or an old favorite they have heard and never understood, so their choices for classroom music should not be ignored.
References
Eken, D. K. (1996). Ideas for using songs in the English language classroom. English Teaching Forum, 34(1), 46-47. Griffee, D. T. (1990).
Hey baby! Teaching short and slow songs in the ESL classroom. TESL Reporter, 23(4), 3-8. Lems, K. (1996).
For a song: Music across the ESL curriculum. Tags: Music, singing in teaching English
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