Teach English in Jinsuoguan Zhen - Tongchuan Shi

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For the teacher, songs can be a wonderful starting point and can fit in well with topics, skills, language and cross-curricular work. Songs is one of the best and most motivating resources in the classroom, regardless of the age or background of the learner. Its universal appeal helps children get moving, get through the rough transitions, to teach children new concepts, and more! How to make a successful song-based lesson? Let’s take a look at some necessary steps to build a lesson plan focused on a song. The first and most important step is selecting a song. There are several criteria when looking for a song before a class: what is taught in the lesson, language level of the class, learners’ ages, materials needed to play the song. It is often easier to bring a song to a class focusing on vocabulary or specific topic than on grammar or pronunciation. For instance, a preschooler can quickly learn words for their body parts with the song “Head, shoulder, knee and toes”. Or the song “Rudolf the red nose reindeer” introduces them a story of the most famous reindeer on Christmas holiday. To introduce students with a new structure or verb tense, teachers need to find a song with repetition of some sentences in chorus or a song with a special name can be an appealing to students. I once used the song “As long as you love me” to attract my students to a lesson with a difficult structure of “as long as” because most of my students at that time were crazy with the band Backstreet boy. The language level of a class is the second to be considered as it will determine not only which songs a teacher can use, but also what other activities – such as games or written exercises – to be used to develop the lesson. Lower levels will become extremely frustrated with fast-delivered lyrics, for instance, while simple repetitive lyrics might not be interesting for more advanced-level learners. Age of learners is important to choose kinds of song. Learners under 8 will probably get interested with songs which are very repetitive, easy to understand and remember. On the other hand, songs following hot trends work with teenagers. 
 The second step in the process of using songs as a teaching aid in a class is to make a careful lesson plan focusing on a song. When a teacher just uses a song in an Engage phase to create a positive atmosphere, it’s rather simple. Fun, simple English songs playing as students enter the classroom help create a welcoming environment. However, a song-focused lesson should bring songs in even Study or Activate phase. When teaching learners vocabulary, a song can be use in all 3 phases of an ESA straight class. An Engage phase with a song helps students think and speak or sing in English. Eliciting words from a song in Study phase become easier as songs provide an excellent means of repeating and reinforcing vocabulary. A teacher should design learning activities with songs such as tasks as completing worksheet in Study phase or remake a song with new words related to a theme in the lessons in Activate phase. For example, the traditional song “Old MacDonald had a farm” has a lot of related games for teacher to support learning of students. When a teacher plans a lesson reinforcing a grammar point, a song can be used for introduction and practice. For example, the song ‘Over the mountains' provides practice of the present continuous in the context of traveling. The chorus refrains such as ‘I'm driving in a car' are repeated several times and children can produce their own sentences afterwards. A teacher can design worksheets, pair or group tasks while or after students listen to the song. Finally, a teacher should ensure the availability and convenience of equipment they will use to access songs. With the help of advanced technology, teachers have different methods to play the songs based on their purposes in each lesson. For example, in Engage phase, students enjoy videos so Youtube and a screen are great tools. In Study or Activate phase, focusing on screen may be disruptive so a teacher need to play a song with a cassette or mp3 player. A classroom full of songs is a warm classroom where students are getting lots of quality English input in a fun and easy-to-understand way. A teacher should spend time for good preparation in selecting song, designing a lesson plan and using appropriate accessing equipment.