Teach English in Wulie Zhen - Yancheng Shi

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Using songs in the classroom Many ESL teachers use songs and music in the classroom. Working with songs has its obvious benefits: songs contain authentic language, it is a good source of new vocabulary and it is fun to sing together. When working with songs in the classroom students improve their listening, reading and writing skills. Authentic language in songs is usually different from course book language. It is more live and real. However, one should be careful when choosing a song as many of them contain rude or swear words. Songs provide students with a lot of new vocabulary. Songs are written by native speakers and usually have some modern expressions and words. Using songs is great because it involves your students in the teaching process. They can choose what songs they like, bring them to the classroom, talk about why they like this particular song or singer. This way the motivation increases greatly. Some songs can lead to a discussion or debates as it may contain some ideas worth talking about. This activity is appropriate for higher levels though. Group singing is a good idea but a teacher must take several things into consideration. The age is really important when you wish to sing with your students. As we know singing works perfectly with young learners, say 5-12 years old. It is a great way to introduce new vocabulary or grammar points. It also works well as a part of TPR Method for this age group. However with teenagers a teacher needs to be careful as most teenagers might feel embarrassed and do not want to lose their face in front of their group mates. According to my experience adults are usually Shy but with a good leadership from a teacher they follow and enjoy themselves singing. They really appreciate the fact that they have heard these songs on the radio many times and now have a chance to understand what they are about. So how to make a successful song based lesson? We all want to make our lessons fun and exciting. To make it work, a teacher first needs to select a song very carefully. He should think about what language aspect he wants to work on. Is it grammar, vocabulary or some particular topic? Of course, it can be several aspects or just a pleasant ending of the class. Secondly, it is vital to think about language level of students. The song must be neither very easy , nor too difficult. It should be challenging enough to grasp the interest and keep it going for a while. Another moment to consider is the age and cultural issues. Is this song appropriate for this age group? Are there any words you don’t want your students to learn? Is there anything offensive to any group of students? Finally, a teacher needs to prepare good challenging tasks to go with the song: fill in the gaps, reorder the sentences, finish the sentences and many others. As a conclusion, I would like to say that using music and songs in ESL classroom is something important every teacher should consider. It brings a lovely note to your lessons and gives joy to learners.