Using songs in foreign language teaching
Сысоева Н. В., Куимова М. В. Using songs in foreign language teaching // Молодой ученый. 2015. №6. С. 692-694.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination and life to everything
Foreign language learners experience a range of emotions during studying. It is well known that supporting learner emotions and motivation, we develop a positive attitude towards learning. There exist a lot of ways to create a rewarding, enjoyable learning atmosphere in the classroom and make the academic program more exciting. In this paper we are going to research the use of songs at foreign language lessons.
In general, music:
- encourages emotional well-being;
- improves imagination and memory;
- ensures inspiration and motivation;
- creates a positive atmosphere;
- increases concentration and attention;
- wakes up your brain to remember words .
Music at foreign language lessons is used to:
- create a supportive classroom environment;
- increase learning motivation;
- stimulate associative processes and speech activities;
- develop cross-cultural literacy;
- reduce the learner fatigue;
- improve and learn vocabulary;
- form tolerance to cultural diversity .
Music is the key to the understanding of another culture. The use of music and songs at lessons gives the following benefits, it:
- motivates learners to learn;
- helps to organize the process of teaching;
- gives the pace for doing the task;
- considerably increases verbal and cogitative activity of learners;
- provokes different emotions and impressions;
- develops imagination;
- develops intonation abilities;
- broadens the spectrum of cross-cultural and socio-cultural knowledge;
- improves cultural awareness;
- introduces a range of colloquial language;
- improves listening, vocabulary and grammar skills;
- breaks down barriers, contributes to better relationship between the teacher and learners [1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 11, 13].
Music and songs call for equality and respect. Songs are abundant in themes, full of idiomatic and poetic expressions, develop linguistic intelligence and language awareness, provide a pronunciation mode and demonstrate correct stress and intonation. They break the learner’s psychological barriers, such as anxiety, stress, lack of self-confidence and wavering self-esteem .
In addition, although some people regard listening to songs as entertainment, learners implicitly remember new words and grammar patterns .
Indeed listening to authentic songs contributes to the formation of proper pronunciation and trains auditory perception and understating. Songs vividly reflect the national spirit, peculiarities of communication within the society, include historical, national background, and give information about the style of life, social values and realia.
Songs offer a lot of mnemonic codes, such as rhyme and melody which help to remember the material under study. The integration of songs at foreign language lessons significantly increases the ability of learners to remember words and grammatical rules. Songs may be used not only for introduction, training and strengthening of lexical and grammatical material, but also as a topic for discussion .
Songs give a lot of fun, make the learning process pleasant, provide the context for vocabulary learning and add interest to the classroom routine .
We offer the following criteria for choosing songs at foreign language lessons:
- correspondence to the learner age;
- accordance with the level of foreign language knowledge;
- lyrics of the song should highlight a certain topic or grammatical phenomenon;
- songs should be clearly sung.
In general, there are three stages of working with songs:
Here, there are some tasks which can be used while working with foreign language songs at lessons:
- Read the title of the song. To whom is it sung?;
- Listen to the song. Write down the words with the sound “a:”, “i”, etc.;
- Look at the board. There are some words from the song. The teacher gives each learner one word. Learners listen to the song and stand up when they hear their word;
- Listen to the song and put the lyrics in the correct order according to the song;
- Listen to the song and fill in the gaps;
- Listen to the song and write down the words related to the topic “Environment”, “Education”, “Sport”, etc.;
- Listen to the song and write down the verbs in the Present Continuous / Present Perfect / Past Simple / Passive Voice, etc.;
- Listen to the song and write down colloquial expressions / contracted forms;
- Listen to the song and explain the idiomatic expressions;
e.g. “Taking Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive
“You Are My Sunshine” by Johnny Cash
“Take It Easy” by Eagles
“It’s Raining Men” by Geri Halliwell
“Beat It” by Michael Jackson
“Don’t Rain on My Parade” by Barbara Streisand
“Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake
- Read the lyrics trying to repeat the intonation of the song;
- What is your attitude to the main topic / hero of the song? Why?;
- Which feelings does the song evoke? Does it make you sentimental / thoughtful / / happy / sad, etc.?;
- Summarize the song;
- Say what is the possible continuation of the situation described in the song.
Beyond doubt, music accompanies people all their lives. The use of songs at foreign language lessons creates the favourable environment, inspires learners and boosts confidence, promotes learning motivation and speech activities, contributes to the development of a harmonious, tolerant personality, provides a better understanding of the culture of the target language.
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