Songs in Classrooms Since the meaning is an important
Since the meaning is an important device in teaching grammar, it is important to contextualize any grammar point. Songs are one of the most enchanting and culturally rich resources that can easily be used in language classrooms. Songs offer a change from routine classroom activities. They are precious resources to develop students' abilities in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They can also be used to teach a variety of language items such as sentence patterns, vocabulary, pronunciation, rhythm, adjectives, and adverbs.
Songs also give new insights into the target culture. They are the means through which cultural themes are presented effectively. Since they provide authentic texts, they are motivating. Prosodic features of the language such as stress, rhythm, intonation are presented through songs, thus through using them the language which is cut up into a series of structural points becomes a whole again.
There are many advantages of using songs in the classroom. Through using contemporary popular songs, which are already familiar to teenagers, the teacher can meet the challenges of the teenage needs in the classroom. Since songs are highly memorable and motivating, in many forms they may constitute a powerful subculture with their own rituals. Furthermore, through using traditional folk songs the base of the learners' knowledge of the target culture can be broadened.
In consequence, if selected properly and adopted carefully, a teacher should benefit from songs in all phases of teaching grammar. Songs may both be used for the presentation or the practice phase of the grammar lesson. They may encourage extensive and intensive listening, and inspire creativity and use of imagination in a relaxed classroom atmosphere. While selecting a song the teacher should take the age, interests of the learners and the language being used in the song into consideration. To enhance learner commitment, it is also beneficial to allow learners to take part in the selection of the songs.
There are various ways of using songs in the classroom. The level of the students, the interests and the age of the learners, the grammar point to be studied, and the song itself have determinant roles on the procedure. Apart from them, it mainly depends on the creativity of the teacher.
For primary students, the best songs would be those that are either familiar to the children or those, though maybe not familiar, which have an international nature, such as Old MacDonald. Since there is not a strict teaching procedure, the teacher can mainly concentrate on what to teach rather than on how to teach. For instance, while teaching them individual letter sounds or spelling the words, the traditional camp song ´Bingo´, or while teaching them counting ´Johnny Works with One Hammer´ will be useful. In order to make the songs more meaningful and more enjoyable, motions can be added to the song which parallel the words of the song. Since most children enjoy singing fun and nonsensical lyrics, using easy children songs will be useful. Furthermore, choosing lively action songs through which they can dance or act while singing will ensure a lively atmosphere.
For teenagers or adults in the intermediate or advanced level, it is better to use more meaningful or popular songs, which not only review or introduce grammar points but also reflect cultural aspects. At the primary level of singing the song, the prosodic features of the language is emphasized. At the higher levels, where the practice of grammar points is at the foreground, songs can be used with several techniques. Some examples of these techniques are:
'Gap fills or close texts
'Put these lines into the correct sequence
'Add a final verse
'Circle the antonyms/synonyms of the given words 'Discuss
A teacher´s selection of a technique or a set of techniques should be based on his or her objectives for the classroom. After deciding the grammar point to be studied, and the song and the techniques to be used, the teacher should prepare an effective lesson plan. Since songs are listening activities, it is advisable to present them as a listening lesson, but of course it is necessary to integrate all the skills in the process in order to achieve successful teaching.
Integrated skills can be used to complete the overall course structure. Since many songs are on themes for which it is easy to find related reading texts, it may lead the learner to read a text about the singer or the theme. Besides, many songs give a chance for a written reaction of some kind. Opinion questions may lead the learner to write about his own thoughts or reflections. Some songs deal with a theme that can be re-exploited through role plays. Acting may add enthusiasm to the learning process. Finally, some songs deal with themes, which can lead to guided discussion. By leading the students into a discussion, the grammar point could be practiced orally and, in a way, naturally.
As a consequence, the use of songs in language classrooms provides many advantages. They entertain and relax the learners while they are learning or practicing a structure, and they often eliminate the students' negative attitude towards learning. Through providing authenticity and context they make the grammar points more understandable and easy. As language teachers, we can benefit from using songs, since our concern is to motivate the students and draw their utmost attention on the subject during teaching.
Interpretation of Metaphorical Expressions in Song Lyrics by EFL Learners: CARDOSO, Gisele and VIEIRA, Josalba, (Date unknown), Internet: www.cce.ufsc.br/~pgi/academicforumgisele.pdf
New Perspectives: Songs as Young Adult Literary Texts': Keong, Too Wei, 2003, Internet: www.melta.org.my/ET/2003/2003-58pdf