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How to teach English by songs


Songs Are A Good Way To Learn English

Teaching English with songs is an excellent idea because music is a universal language. Melody, rhythm and harmony go beyond linguistic barriers and can be felt by any human being. When a student listens to a song, they experience emotion and connection which can be a bridge to learning the specific skills that they need to learn.


Kids Singing With Their Teacher

Years ago, one of the students I was tutoring told me that students in her country, Korea, absolutely loved listening to English songs, even though they could understand only a little bit of the vocabulary. Why did they want to listen to songs that did not even have real meaning to them? They liked the music, the sound. Music goes far beyond just words to actually touch and excite people.

Songs are an excellent way to bring in another medium into the classroom to keep things fresh and interesting. Students learn better when they are stimulated with different mediums. Another creative source you can use are articles from various sources such as newspapers, magazines and online sites such as Hubpages.

How To Use Songs For Teaching English

Music can be used with all ages and your approach will vary, depending on the age and skill level of your students. Here are some general principles for using songs for teaching English. We tend to think of songs as being for young children, but older students can also enjoy this method, too! These are some basic ideas. Some may not apply to you, so feel free to use or modify to suit your own individual classroom and situation.

1. Songs can be used for many different purposes within your lesson. Be sure to have a specific learning objective in mind and shape your lesson around that. Don't add songs just for fun's sake, although fun will be sure to happen!

2. For each lesson, focus on one or two songs at the most. Use the song to teach the learning objective that you have. 

3. Use a disc player or other device to play the song in class, or sing it yourself! Also, with more advanced students, provide the students with a written copy of the words of the song to read along.

4. For more advanced students, you may also wish to provide a list of questions that you will be looking at, regarding the song(s) and read these questions to the class before playing the song. Doing this will help your students learn more by preparing their minds for what to listen to, making them targeted listeners.

5. For an advanced class, play the song through once, discuss the questions again, and then play again. Encourage discussion of what they have heard and read.

6. When teaching children, you may use songs over and over again to reinforce the concepts. Repetition, repetition, repetition!

Use Songs To Teach These Learning Objectives

There are many things you can learn from English songs and the ideas are almost endless. Here are some ideas for language learning objectives that can be met by the use of songs.

Basic vocabulary. Use simple songs, especially with children, to teach basic vocabulary and skills. The use of songs greatly reinforces the words in their minds, helps auditory learners. If you use actions, as well, this also helps the kinesthetic learners.

Advanced Vocabulary. Choose a song that is challenging but not impossible for the students to understand. Make a list of words you think they should know and hand them out with the words to song. Listen to the song more than once. A good strategy would be to place students in groups to decipher the words and the report their findings to the class.

Grammar. The grammar in song lyrics is often irregular, so this is a good chance to compare song word order to regular usage. A good strategy to teach grammar is to take a song and have students write each line out in a proper sentence and then share examples with the rest of the class. You can also have students pick out examples of a particular grammar part from one or two songs.

Writing. To develop writing skills in your students, use a well-known song and have them develop a similar song, using the original song as a template. For example, I used the song, Blowin' in the Wind, by Bob Dylan, with my high school students and encouraged them to write their own version of the song.

Speaking. Songs can be used for learning to hear English and how certain words are pronounced. Let the students listen to a song with rhyming end lines and then focus on the end words. Have the students say each line together, emphasizing the end words. Draw their attention the sound of the rhymes.

Culture. You can also use songs to show different parts of the culture where English is spoken, whether it is overseas or if the students are now living in the English speaking country.

I have just scratched the surface of how to use songs to teach English. I hope that it has piqued your interest and that you use these ideas to get you started on your own creative teaching ideas. I would love to hear your comments and any ideas you have used in the section below. Happy Teaching!

Popular Music Songs To Use For English Teaching




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