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
http://english.wiziq.com/topic/1009-music-in-teaching-english_truncated

BLOWING IN THE WIND - Peter Paul & Mary - Lyrics Video




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About Halina's Karaoke ESL Edupunk



 Halina's Karaoke ESL Edupunk classes where my original materials to go with the song.
As for “are there gender-based or L1-based observable differences in their learning performance patterns in response to these two kinds of presentations?"
I would say that all depends on the requirements of particular learners as well as on our personal teaching preferences.
I introduce a new language by listening to real conversations, and all lessons are made up of talking and listening only. I teach grammar basically through situations with no reference to grammar rules at all.
 I don't teach grammar rules and isolated vocabulary. I teach conversational language.
My adult students are not into “abstract timelines or cartoon stick-figure-based presentations “.They want to speak the language, so I focus on dialogs and communication skills.
This is the link to previous debate;
As a non-native English teacher, I can be first-rate role model for my students who may not believe that they can ever learn the target language ("I learned this language well so you can too!").Personally I am against methods that emphasize learning about the language but for learning by using the language/ Expressions, collocations, models, patterns, language chunks......./
For my part, I don't approve grammar classes explaining rules and language terminology.
Moreover, I believe, the sooner a student learns to think in a foreign language, the faster she/he will learn. This can only take place if no reference at all is made to L1. They must be free from the interference of L1.
Maybe I am wrong?
On the top of this all, I distinguish that anyone who is learning a second language wishes and dreams about communicating as well as thinking in that language.
Teachers are duty-bound to take responsibility of effectiveness and encouragement of their own students, I think.

PS traditional method teaches you to read and write but not speak. Speaking is the main reason for learning a language and the main motivational driver that keeps you trying and improving. / Jason West /


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