Teach English in Bishan Zhen - Bazhong Shi

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TEFL Essay on topic “Songs in the classroom” In the following essay I’m going to answer the question of using songs in the classroom. To do so, first of all I need to describe the role of the songs in the process of learning and how it might help learners to improve their language skills. Firstly, songs often have a catchy melody and rhyme which helps to memorize it. Memorizing of the melody and the lyrics leads to many advantages that can be used in learning. Thus, learners may memorize new vocabulary and in some cases grammar structures and rules. It also helps to remember or even guess the right pronunciation of a word. Of course not all songs are suitable for these learning objectives and it will be discussed later. Secondly, songs have the ability to create a special atmosphere in the classroom. Using songs reduces stress and makes the lesson less strict and formal. Teacher can use fun songs to increase the energy level in the class and use soft and calming songs to decrease energy and make students more focused. There are many other advantages of songs which I’m not mentioning and might be used for teaching and learning. However, these are the most common reasons to include songs in the learning process. In my own experience many learners use their favorite songs as a tool to learn new language. Sometimes subconsciously, sometimes purposely students use songs while learning. However, it doesn’t lessen the importance of the song usage in the classroom. A teacher can efficiently use the advantages of the songs to create a great lesson. Talking about ESA lesson teacher may use a song in any of the lesson stages. It is quite obvious how can we use songs in the Engage phase, so I won’t stop here. As for Study phase songs also might be very useful. I believe that it is possible to use songs in all of the Study Phase activities: Elicitation, Pronunciation, Spelling, Meaning, Word order and Analysis. Teacher can use lyrics of the song as a usual text and make fill the gap exercises or scramble some words. Repetition of the words in the chorus might be used for teaching pronunciation. Activate phase can include song writing. On one hand, it might be quite difficult for beginners and young learners, but on the other hand, it’s very creative, challenging and interesting for advanced students. Listening to a song and writing its lyrics is also a good exercise for listening and writing skills. By this time, you might be convinced that songs are great for learning languages. However we also should take in account their disadvantages. As far as I mentioned in the beginning, songs might be used to learn and memorize new grammar. But some songs are written in “spoken language” with many contractions and slang structures, which might be considered as the wrong grammar and sometimes artists abandon grammar rules for sake of art. Thus, some of the iconic songs can teach you wrong. For example, in the song Love Sounds Justin Timberlake sang ‘When you cheated, girl, my heart bleeded girl’. The same often happens with pronunciation. It is not a secret that native speakers from different countries speak differently and have their own accent. However, for better and easier learning in the classroom a teacher would speak and teach one accent. So, if a student learns pronunciation from a song he or she might learn different accent which sometimes might be even wrong in an accent they learn in class. Thus, Scottish band Proclaimers sing ‘I’m not my way’ as ‘I’m on my wee’. Also, we shouldn’t forget that all of the lesson materials should be age and level appropriate. So, even though a song is an amazing tool for a class management and teaching, teachers should be attentive to its choice. Luckily the internet is full of different specified songs for English learners and song examples for most of the topics. In such a way, even if a teacher doesn’t have songs in his/her teaching materials he/she can find one on the internet. One more aspect that should be considered before including a song into a lesson is the age of the students. Young learners would need more songs in their lesson to make students focused, to make a lesson fun and relaxed and to make many repetitions of the same material. At the same time adults may feel bored or embarrassed to sing a song in the class and might need more “formal” lesson to achieve better results. To conclude, I would say that song is a great and powerful tool for a teacher, however as for any other power he/ she should know how to use it correctly and efficiently.