Songs in the classroom Songs offer a change from routine
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. Learning English through songs also provides a non-threatening atmosphere for students, who usually are tense when speaking English in a formal classroom setting. Songs may both be used for the presentation or the practice phase of the grammar lesson.
There are various ways of using songs in the classroom. 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.. 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 'Focus questions 'True-false statements 'Put these lines into the correct sequence 'Dictation '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.
A song can be taught by first handing out the lyrics, then going through the grammar and syntax, examining the vocabulary used, and finally, trying to analyze the content of the song. When every student has thoroughly grasped the meaning of the lyrics, play the song and have them sing aloud in order to practice their pronunciation.
Another method allows the students to discover some of the lyrics by themselves. This is done by handing out a copy of the song with some words missing. This way the listening-comprehension exercise really fits its purpose, since students must listen carefully in order to make out the exact words being sung. Students enjoy this exercise a lot. When they don't comprehend what is being said, they generally insist upon listening to the passage again and again until they understand every single word. This 'filling in the blanks' exercise is a great opportunity to teach new words in context, as well as phrasal verbs, idiomatic expressions, and even some familiar or slang words, which clearly point out should be used with care in everyday conversation.
Conclusion 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.
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