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Songs in the classroom Listening to music stimulates students
Listening to music stimulates students to learn English and works as a change of class atmosphere. Songs make an enjoyable learning environment. Songs have a small amount of information and a high degree of superfluity; they make songs sound simple and this aid to understanding. They contain authentic language, are easily attainable, provide vocabulary and cultural aspects and are fun for the students. They provide enjoyable speaking, listening, vocabulary and language practice both in and out of the classroom. Songs are a good resource for English Teaching; ''They are funny and can be selected to suit the needs and interests of the students. Students think songs are natural and fun. Fun, even silly songs abound in English. As texts, songs are interesting because most do not follow the structural patterns of normal writing. In English especially, so many songs are available that selection of songs with suitable themes, levels and vocabulary is not at all difficult. Allowances can also be made for complexity or simplicity of language, depending on the students, by selecting and using suitable songs. ''Students learn English very easily, through memory. Through the movement and sound, Students could memorize easily. Movement is a great memory rein forcer. Songs which include movement (songs such as, ´I like Running´ or, ´Head, shoulders, knees and toes´) help students remember the song´s vocabulary. Rhythm and rhyme are other strong devices for promoting better memory. ''A variety of new vocabulary can be introduced to students through songs. Looking to boost student vocabulary with useful phrases, vocabulary and expressions' Songs are almost always directed to the native- speaking population so they usually contain contemporary vocabulary, idioms and expressions. Songs are written to be easily understood and enjoyed. They tend to use high frequency lyrics that have emotional content. This makes them strong candidates for word study or for reinforcing words already learned through written means. If a series of songs is to be used, students can be paired and given a song to teach the class. ''Listening Activities Songs contextually introduce the features of supra-segmental (how rhythm, stress, and intonation affect the pronunciation of English in context). Through the listening activities, students could learn the song 'Vinclude vocabulary, pronunciation etc. 'V easily. Listening activities make possible to play the song many times without students getting bored and they are promoted to an unconscious learning of the song. ''Reading and Writing Activities Students can fill in the blanks before, during, or after listening to a song, and then check to see whether their word choices made sense semantically, even if they did not pick the exact word used. This helps build the important skill of forming hypotheses based on context. For short songs, students can work in small groups to write the words of a song. The process of putting the lyrics together as a group involves making decisions about word order, verb tense, and parts of speech. It also builds the teamwork skills so important to the workplace and community. When the lyric sheet is handed out, the groups can compare what they heard and wrote with the actual words. Students enjoy writing responses to songs, either in class or at home. ''Pronunciation practice Nursery rhymes and songs may be used in pronunciation practice. Fairy tales, nursery rhymes and songs are not just for children. They belong to the whole culture and are an integral part of society. Using them to teach ESL students can be fun and educational for everyone involved. Sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb," for example, to practice the "L" sound or "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" to practice the "R" sound. The rhymes can also help a student compare how the words may not look the same but are still homophonic. Twinkle, twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. These lyrics show how ´star´ and ´are´ rhyme and how ´high´ and ´sky´ rhyme but the words do not look the same. ''Cultural Knowledge Activities Songs can be used in discussions of culture. They are a rich mine of information about human relations, ethics, customs, history, humor, and regional and cultural differences. A song can be part of a unit that also contains poems, video footage, or still photographs. Recordings of freedom songs from the civil rights movement can be a powerful accompaniment to watching Martin Luther King Jr.´s "I Have a Dream" speech on video, for example. ''Students can experience a wide range of accents. A good thing about songs is that teacher can expose the students to many different kinds of English. British English, American English, Caribbean English are all widely available through songs. Accents too are well represented by songs from different regions and in a variety of types and formats. Gospel, soul, R & B, Pop, Rock, Reggae, Jazz and other styles change not only accents, but vocabulary and usage too. An advantage of songs is that students could be contact to many different kinds of culture through the English songs. Songs should be carefully selected for the English classroom and they ought to be clear and loud, not submerged in the instrumental music. Furthermore, the vocabulary content for the song should be appropriate to the proficiency level for the efficient lesson. REFERENCESBrown, H.D.- TESOL at 25: What Are the Issues' (25(2)) Dominic O''Brien- How to develop a Perfect Memory: Pavilion Books (ISBN:1595610065) Joy L. M. Brown- Rhymes, Stories and Songs in the ESL Classroom: TESOL journal (4) Larry M. Lynch- 9 Reasons Why You Should Use Songs to Teach English as a Foreign Language: EzineArticles.com Lems, Kristen- Using Music in the Adult Class: National Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education Washington DC. (ED459634) Sunao Shimizu- Global Issues in Language Education (issue 35)