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Re: "Joy to the World" - Music as a Medium for EFL Instruction

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  • John Ball
    I use songs as a way of filling in time when you finish say ten minutes early. No matter how well you plan things it is inevitable that this will happen. The
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 2, 2005
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      I use songs as a way of filling in time when you finish say ten
      minutes early. No matter how well you plan things it is inevitable
      that this will happen. The old show business maxim of "finishing
      with a song" to "send them home happy" also applies to the more
      serious profession of language teaching. I have also been using
      songs in my first classes with the new students.

      I illustrate some of the lyrics on the board using coloured chalk.
      The huge hit "Take Me to Your Heart" is great for this as you can
      illustrate "Hiding from the rain and snow" and "Looking at the moon
      in a clear blue sky" easily. The problem is that the students just
      want you to sing the song. The solution is to leave it on the
      blackboard so that the students can look at it before the next
      teacher arrives or when they come back from their lunch break.

      I'm not sure of the educational value of songs in the classroom but
      knowing the meaning of a popular song can only enhance credibility
      with students studying other subjects. Hopefully it helps maintain
      interest them enjoy the subject and looking back on your own college
      years I'm sure you will agree with me in saying this is difficult.

      The problem is that if you are good you may be asked to perform in
      one of their showpiece concerts something that will be difficult to
      turn down !

      John Ball
    • Don williamson
      ... Reply: Thanks but do remember using music with ESL is basically what the old pros call dog & pony shows They are entertaining and another tool to give
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 2, 2005
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        --- west mike <orderedliberty@...> wrote:

        <<<<<<<<I am hoping eventually to exploit the "lyric-glue"
        > effect that drives many folks raving mad and turn it
        > around to make EFL a little easier and more
        > effective.
        > Alas, I'm also hoping to make the rent this month.
        > Time will tell if either goal is ultimately
        > realized.
        > :)
        >
        > Mike West>>>>>

        Reply:

        Thanks but do remember using music with ESL is
        basically what the old pros call "dog & pony shows"
        They are entertaining and another tool to give some
        variety to the toils of day in-out teaching. Btw, when
        I selected a song for detailed class use, I would
        select one of the students with good handwriting
        (usually a gal )to write a verse on the BB. If the
        song had 4 verses I used 4 Ss. The refrain I would
        write at the side. Every student had to copy the
        entire song for his/her permanent reference/read
        along. Next we would orally repeat the words and
        discuss the meaning. We would then move on to a trial
        sing along as a whole class. This was usually a
        disaster with much laughter. After much practice , I
        would then break the class up into male/female parts.
        Next into sound effects like clapping or desk
        knocking, foot stomping. You don't do this all in one
        or two class periods but come back to it over a course
        of time. I might arbitrarily call on a student to
        stand and recite the third stanza of the song. I was
        constantly surprised at how good the Ss became with
        recall and pronunciation. When a S got it right, the
        rest of the class would applaud. All this is even more
        effective if you can record the before and afters for
        playback. One day three of the class clowns (every
        class has these) requested that I allow them to do
        'Deep in the Heart of Texas' as a trio. They were
        great. I had them do an encore with the whole class
        signing along. I was told later that students in the
        rest of the building were crowding outside our door to
        listen.

        Other good songs....Red Sails in the Sunset, Some
        Enchanted Evening, She'll be Com min Round the
        Mountain..... the list is endless. My next stint in
        China I might try the Ss doing the National anthems
        (in English) of various countries around the world.
        China will, of course, be first. Other good ideas is
        to pole the class on musical talent. Again I was
        surprised at what I would learn and then exploit that
        talent to the benefit of the whole class.

        G'luck on the rent.
        Don






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      • davekees
        The Spiderman English lesson may be too dated now. I suspect the song may have been cool because the movie was cool but by our students standards
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 3, 2005
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          The "Spiderman" English lesson may be too dated now. I suspect the song
          may have been cool because the movie was cool but by our students'
          standards "Spiderman" is an old movie already. I was just using it as an
          example of selection and approach to teaching.

          Ask your students what they like today and then find the lyrics of what
          they like. The things they like today are probably being played on the
          radio constantly so the radio will assist you in helping the students to
          review the words.

          In fact, it might be worthwhile for teachers to make all of their
          students familiar with the English words to all of the currently popular
          songs as a way of producing a constantly reviewed vocabulary effect.

          Dave Kees

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          davekees@... - www.davekees.com - skype: davekees
          Teach English in China - www.asiateacher.com
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