Teach English in Shuping Zhen - Ankang Shi

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Songs in the classroom can be used for many different learning experiences and are suitable for all young learners of any language level. On top of that, it gives everyone the chance to speak, creates a positive classroom atmosphere and is a good way to start your lesson. Songs are not only good for practicing a language through speaking, pronunciation, intonation, rhythm and stress, but also can be used for listening, reading and depending on the level of your students for writing. Songs allows us to practice the language in a different context, they are a fantastic media to apply exercises such as: drilling exercises, listening exercises, gap fill activities, reviewing previous taught language, learning tenses and many more. There is a wealth of songs available online for the appropriate age of students and their language level. In addition to that, the internet offers unlimited ideas for activities and exercises regarding to songs, one of those is: https://www.fluentu.com/blog/educator-english/esl-song-activities/ . For the younger young learners aged 5 to 9, singing songs are not only great fun, but also a very effective technique to memorize a language. Studies by James Asher show that adding movements to the songs can access the kinesthetic learning centers on the brain, which is said to improve learning and is the basis of the Total Physical Response (TPR) methodology. For this young learners songs combined with actions can create a nice balanced energy level in class. It gives the overly active students a chance to release some of their excitement, while it gives the shyer students the chance to get involved and increase their energy level.* Bear in mind that the younger young learner (referred to as group 1 in the TEYL course) respond better to rhymes and rhythm opposed to pop songs. For the older young learners referred to as group 2 in the TEYL course, singing songs with movements can be embarrassing, sometimes even singing by itself. Nevertheless, group 2, children aged 9 to 13, usually respond well to influential Western pop songs in their county or region. This exposure to the English language is beneficial by itself, yet it is also a great opportunity for teachers to use these songs in class. Students could bring their favorite English songs and lyrics to class, not only to sing but also to read lyrics, discuss the lyrics, define unfamiliar words and practice grammar. A karaoke version of such songs could be lots of fun too. Especially in the Asian cultures sphere where karaoke is very popular. Creative writing can be implemented when asking students to replace a verse or the chorus of a song. In spite of singing causing embarrassment there are many other ways to implement songs for the older young learners, nonetheless we should be aware not to overdo it, keep it fun and fresh. Many course books include preselected tested songs suitable for the age and language level while covering the unit’s language points. The lyrics will be present in the text books supported with audio files. This might save the teacher the trouble of finding suitable songs by him/herself, but it is important to learn the songs by heart so your hands are free to accompany them with movements. When implementing songs ourselves, we first have to get familiar with the teaching points of the lesson before selecting an appropriate song for reinforcement activity. Always listen to the songs completely before you bring them to the class to avoid unexpected surprises or interruptions. Singing songs is not only beneficial on an educational level, but studies suggest it also improves your mood, releases stress, increases lung capacity, and improves your immune function. On a final and personal note, when accompanied by an instrument songs will add another dimension to the classroom’s atmosphere and the overall learning experience of your students.** *Oxford University Press ELT(11 May, 2011), English Language Teaching Global Blog: “Why should songs be used MORE in the Young Learners classroom”, https://oupeltglobalblog.com/2011/05/11/why-should-songs-be-used-more-in-the-young-learners-classroom/ **https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singing