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Songs in Classroom Learning English has predominantly
Learning English has predominantly taken center stage due to the need of non-English speaking people to cope with the demand of globalization. We now see flock of students going to English speaking nations like the United States, United Kingdom and Australia to study the language as well as increasing demands of Asian countries for ESL teachers. In this light, teachers have now the burden of finding various ways to increase proficiency on the language of their students and develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills relative to English grammars and vocabularies.
One of the medium that ESL teachers use is the utilization of music or songs to increase students' interest and learning. Literatures attest to the ability of human mind to pick up new knowledge more quickly when it is contained in a song with appealing rhythm and theme. Introducing songs into classroom instruction significantly change the routine and provide students with better appreciation of the language through learning sentence pattern, stress and proper intonations of words and grammar usage.
Why Use Songs in ESL Classroom Teaching
Kevin Schoepp (2001) enumerated affective, cognitive and linguistic reasons for using songs in the classroom and how it effectively influences a person's learning ability. He cited the affective filter hypothesis of Steven Krashen which explains that individual who has weak affective filter has a positive attitude towards leaning. It will require teachers to provide a positive atmosphere and using songs in language learning will create such atmosphere. The same article expounded on Gatbonton and Segalowitz explanation on the importance of songs in developing automaticity which would appeal to the cognition of students. Since songs are repetitive and consistent, learning language is automatic and easier. Finally, he cited the importance of songs in preparing students to better comprehend the language of informal conversation. There are a number of songs that use colloquial English and exposing students into this kind of language pattern will increase their knowledge of the language.
Ebong & Sabbadini (2006), on the other hand, stressed on effectiveness of using songs to provide students with the very essential of language learning since they are examples of authentic, memorable and rhythmic language. They elaborated on using songs to focus on sounds, words and on connected speech.
Using music and songs in classroom also support Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligence which claims that human possess all the potential to maximize the development of these intelligences, more specifically the musical skills of the person.
Suzanne Medina in a study conducted in 1993 has proven the positive effect of music in English language acquisition among 48 2nd grade children. In her study, Medina arrived at a conclusion that music and songs are viable vehicle for language acquisition most especially if combine with illustrations due to its effect upon memory retention.
Areas Which Can Be Improved Through Introduction of Songs
The use of songs in classroom activities familiarizes students with common vocabulary and sentence construction as phrases are constantly repeated. Students are acquainted on right pronunciation of English words and able to differentiate how combination of letters would sound different using their native languages. Reading and writing capabilities of students are also enhanced by their familiarity with songs as they are now able to learn vocabularies and word tenses, put their ideas together and write it in manner they could clearly express their thoughts about certain topic, issue or event.
Selecting the Right Song is a Must!
Selecting songs that will give the ultimate result as far as language acquisition of students is concern lies in the best decision of teachers. Interest and proficiency level of students should be the first consideration of every educator. You cannot expect children more interested in singing songs of Celine Dion than learning 'I'm a Little Tea Pot'.
Lyrics should have story line to appeal to students' emotion and for them to relate it to reality. Teachers have the responsibility to ensure that songs to be introduced will not in any way promote violence, sex and other negative values.