Teach English in Jintang Zhen - Xianning Shi

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said "Music is the universal language of mankind” and it is still widely accepted today. Any language uses words to create sentences that convey messages with different tones and emotions as well as music does. Thus, bringing music to an English classroom is one good way to inspire the learners. There are tons of techniques or ideas involving music and songs that can be applicable to any part of a lesson plan. It is available today in the form of online resources to use as a guideline for teachers. However, there are some arguments about how this strategy can be time consuming and taking away the interest out of a focus lesson. In this case, the advantages clearly outweigh the worries. Here are some astonishing benefits to convince everyone to try using songs in their classroom. First of all, it is an alternative way to draw student’s attention into the lesson during an engage stage. Some teachers tend to skip an activity out of time pressure and follow the traditional structure that can cause repetitive pattern and dull classroom atmosphere. In fact, music can especially stimulate students when acquiring a new language. It is one of the most motivating resources regardless of age or background of the learner. The song can brighten up the atmosphere, inspire creativity and create harmony in the classroom. Once teachers capture the attention of students, the class will surely show the best result. The song choice is the most essential part which will be determined by the language level of the learners. It can be either educational songs for young students or popular update materials that people frequently hear in their everyday life for more advance level students. One of the prominent advantages is enhancing listening and speaking skills. Because songs are usually directed to native speakers, they are usually more natural and contain contemporary vocabularies, idioms, slang and expressions which are contrary to the language using in a text book. Learners can improve their listening skill by getting used to the speed of words spoken in the songs which is closer to real life conversation. In addition, teachers can use gap-fill or finding mistake activity by letting the class fill in the missing words or phrases from the lyrics to encourage students to pay more attention and listen more carefully. Another favourable aspect is to get expose to different accents spoken by different regions or countries such as British English or American English that can even be varied by genres as in R&B or pop music. Another major benefit form the songs is surprisingly a writing skill. Bob Dylan, one of the greatest song writer in history, composed songs that honoured him with the Nobel Prize for Literature. This indicates that without committing to master his writing skill, he would not be able to accomplish such extraordinary success. One of significant values of using English songs in a classroom is to boost learners’ ability in writing descriptive text as well as motivate them to learn English from generating ideas and gaining vocabulary. Teachers can therefore seize the opportunity to assign some activities such as creative writing, translating, or even talking about the main idea of the song or their resembling experiences. In addition, the language used in the song is sometimes poetic, and for this reason students can learn how to read between the lines, symbols and metaphors. Moreover, by collaborating the song which contains the same use of grammar points as in the lesson, it can help learners remember better and retain them longer. Using songs in the classroom is one of numerous techniques to motivate learning experience. Songs can be great teaching tools in a classroom at any level. It depends on how to choose the right song to match the learning purpose. Consequently, teachers play an important role in selecting appropriate resources along with effective methods, activities and guidance not only to build a good learning habit for learners but also to make English a part of their life.