Song becomes universal language for expressing one’s message. When there is no word or sentence to tell one’s feeling, choosing a song can be one of the ways to say something unspoken. This symptom might happen to all people in various ages. So do our students.
Most of students love to listen or sing a song. It gives idea to busy and tired teachers to use songs in teaching English, and could be teachers of other subjects. How to use songs to help students learn English? What kind of songs is suitable? How to create the activities by those songs? Here I tried to share what I’ve done with songs in my class.
What to consider before using a song in an English class:
- Identify your class: age, level, room, and facilities, size of your class, materials.
- Choose suitable songs based on your class identification; especially match the song to the topic.
- Decide the aim and target. Make a clear purpose of teaching English by song. It should also be clear skills: listening, speaking, reading or writing, or can be more detail on pronunciation, grammar, spelling, expression, intonation, content, theme, etc.
- Be well prepare. Don’t ever choose any kind of song and play it during the class without any purpose. Students can listen their favorite songs everywhere, but not in your class. It should be fun, interactive and meaningful to learning. Handouts, slips of paper, pictures or other media may support your ‘song class’.
- Create the activities to achieve the aim and target. The activities may combine between listening and speaking, listening and writing, listening and reading, or among listening, writing, speaking, etc. Look back to the purpose.
- Conduct the lesson plan in your class. Make a smooth and graded flow of teaching learning activities.
Here are the examples of the song activities:
- Sing and Move. It is suitable for kids. You choose a song to introduce simple movements, so while playing a song, students are moving and acting.
- Say it with Song. Choose the song that consists of vocabulary to acquire. For example: animal, fruits, part of body, colors, numbers, etc. It’s to learn vocabulary and pronunciation. Teachers may use picture or song with video, or cards. This activity can be divided into many sub activities.
- Sing and Match. Eliminate some words from the song and separate the words somewhere. Let the students find the correct words to complete the lyric while listening to the song.
- Song Lyric Gap. The common activities are filling the gap of the song lyric. Here I would just remind to be consistent in eliminating the words. Remember the aim. So, teachers can eliminate the nouns, the verbs, adverbs, pronouns, etc. Avoid eliminate random words or difficult words according to teachers.
- Jumbled Lyric. Here teachers have to write each line of the lyric on a slip of paper. Mix the slips, put somewhere or give it to each students. Play the song and students with the slip should arrange the lyric slips according to the song.
- Song to Act. It’s little bit difficult, maybe for higher level. Students are to listen to a song, discuss the content/topic/story of the song and do a role play. It’s like a music video.
There are still many kinds of activities to teach English with songs. Teachers can still also combine and develop those activities above.
Let’s make a fun, meaningful, and an unforgettable English class!