Songs are a great way to use Authentic Material in the ESL classroom! Teaching English with songs is exciting for young learners because songs are often engaging and fun.
Below you will find 3 reasons to teach English with songs. This blog includes a video sample of a teacher from China who uses songs in her classroom. You will also find a sample lesson plan at the end of this blog!
1- Fun Learning Activates the Brain!
In general, kinesthetic activities are always very useful in the young learner classroom! This scholarly paper from George Mason University explains that learning takes place more effectively with songs because young students are entertained. Furthermore, songs expose your students to rhythm and movement, thus activating students’ brains as they clap or move to the rhythm because they feel connection to the vocabulary and pronunciation.
2- Songs are Great for Classroom Behavior!
Songs and music have a positive effect on children and people in general. They allows students to feel happy and relaxed, so music is particularly good to create a positive mood and learning environment. The rhythmic nature to songs also helps to stimulate and engage the attention and interest of young students, who are often distracted or may get bored easily. Young learners are energetic, therefore singing with gestures makes learning more comprehensible and memorable. Songs inevitably help young learners to learn a new language as they contain many elements of grammar and vocabulary.
3- Songs Can be Used to Teach Vocabulary or Grammar!
Songs are highly valuable in the sense that they can teach learners a new language, vocabulary and critical components such as grammar, all this is achieved in a fun and engaging manner which makes learners more effective and successful. Always remember that using songs in the ESL classroom have to meet a lesson goal!
Video Sample from a Large ESL Classroom:
As you can see in the video above, gestures and movements help learners remember the new vocabulary. As an authentic material, the song teaches learners new words and these words are repeated throughout the song. This repetition ensures comprehension of the words, their meaning and pronunciation as well.
Furthermore, the song teaches two elements of grammar I.e., how to tell time and use the correct vocabulary to describe the exact hour. The other component of grammar is the exposure to adverbs of frequency (such as always, everyday and never). Other songs teach students simple pronouns such as I, we, she, them etc., which form part of critical grammar used in sentence construction and communicative situations.