Teach English in Wujie Zhen - Nantong Shi

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The importance of learning English is growing day by day and it has made people think about starting learning new languages from an early age. As very young children are engaged in the learning process of a foreign language, the process should not only be seen as teaching the language but also kids should immerse themselves in an appropriate context. Children always expect to play, so even the class should look like a place where these young leaners can both learn and have fun. One of the techniques of TEFL is teaching the language through songs. It is quite an easy way for children to imitate and remember lyrics very effectively since children show a big preference to repeat mimic words and sounds. Because of this reason using songs for teaching EFL improves learners’ language patterns, their listening, speaking skills, pronunciation and it can be used as authentic material. Moreover, songs have a strong influence on young learners’ motivation to use the target language. Using songs during the class in the kindergartens can create a comfortable English-speaking environment. Even from the first day of language learning, songs can be started, which leads the whole group towards using the language unconsciously. Moreover, songs are welcome to very young learners and can be used for various purposes. For instance, they can be used for greeting, warm-up, changing the environment of the classroom, introducing new vocabulary, working on pronunciation and reinforcing what they have learned. Moreover, starting the lesson with the “Hello” song and ending with “Goodbye” one already proved its advantages and has taken place in the lesson plans of most teachers. In this case, there is no need for translations, instead, the teacher can use gestures, and body language to deliver the meaningful message of the song. Concerning this using gestures is an essential part of singing. It makes the language more understandable, accurate, memorable, also it gets children to be involved much deeper insights into the language, besides it is enjoyable for those who are fond of dancing. Having considered my own experience of observing an English class of kindergarten, along with singing the song, the teacher was acting while children were following both the words and the actions of the teacher, that is why they were easily able to comprehend the meaning of the words. When they sang the song ”Walking-walking” the teacher acted like walking, running; further procedure could be continued by adding more action verbs: swimming, jumping, hopping, climbing and so on. By utilizing Total Physical Response, we can develop learners' motor skills. In order to learn more action verbs, the song “Wheels on the bus go round and round” is also very useful. With the help of the song “Head, shoulders, knees & toes” we teach the vocabulary of some parts of the body: head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, nose, ears, hands, mouth. The lesson not only increases their word stock and develops their listening, speaking skills, but also helps to produce the target language structure. For example, after practicing the song, some extra exercises can also be beneficial like " I have a head, two eyes, a nose, two ears, two hands, and a mouth". Besides, songs are beneficial to make very young learners acquainted with some grammar structures. From my own experience, when children at the age of the kindergarten listened to and watched the songs with the video “Do you like ice cream; Yes, I do!” children were capable of catching the meaning of the words and even they repeated the same sentence-structure with the other objects of the room. “Do you like a “ningyou” which means in their own language “a doll”. With this example, I want to say that the nursery songs are high in authenticity and they can develop language learners communicative competence. Another way of effectively using songs is by showing pictures of the objects mentioned simultaneously playing the song. For instance, in order to gain acquaintance with the names of animals, pictures of animals can be shown during the songs of “Old Macdonald had a farm” or “Jungle songs”. Furthermore, songs can be beneficial in other ways as well. After listening to the songs teacher can organize different activities related to the very topic in the songs, such as after learning “head, shoulder, knees and toes” The teacher can ask the children to show part of the body which the song mentions. In this case, drilling can be carried out by exceeding the speed. One should be careful about choosing an appropriate song for kindergarteners. The following points should be taken into consideration: length of the song, level of learners, kids' interest not only focusing on the topic of the lesson. Moreover, it is easy for kids to catch the meaning and remember when the song has a simple and accurate language sequence. When we sing and interact with songs in our classes, our young learners can deal with vocabulary, pronunciation, intonation, the grammar of language, listening and speaking skills are developed, and they get all of these things unconsciously, not realizing that they are learning. Additionally, songs are great language tools to manage the classroom. Most importantly, songs are brilliant at transferring from one activity to another. They come in handy to create a positive welcoming atmosphere in the classroom. Overall using songs for TEFL in kindergarten has nothing but benefits.