Using Songs Effectively to Teach English to Young Learners. A paper written by Neil T. Millington, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan. A paper, ©Millington, source: Language Education in Asia, 2011, 2(1), 134-141.
Songs play an important role in the development of young children learning a second language. A testament to this is the frequency with which songs are used in English Language Teaching classrooms all over the world. This paper begins by looking at why songs can be considered valuable pedagogical tools. In particular, it will discuss how songs can help learners improve their listening skills and pronunciation, and how they can be useful in the teaching of vocabulary and sentence structures. The author will also discuss how songs can reflect culture and increase students’ overall enjoyment of learning a second language. The author will then attempt to show, through practical examples, how songs can be used as language tasks. Finally, the paper aims to explore how classic songs for children can be adapted to suit a particular theme or part of the curriculum a teacher might wish to teach.
Most children enjoy singing songs, and they can often be a welcome change from the routine of learning a foreign language. For the teacher, using songs in the classroom can also be a nice break from following a set curriculum. Songs can be taught to any number of students and even those teachers with the most limited resources can use them effectively. Songs can play an important role in the development of language in young children learning a second language. Yet songs may be used relatively ineffectively and the potential for language learning is not maximized.
This paper starts by analyzing why songs should be considered as useful pedagogical tools. The author then proposes using songs as language learning tasks to maximize the benefits of using songs and attempts to show how this might be done using practical examples. Finally, the paper explores how classic children’s songs could be modified to help teachers use them more frequently to teach a wider variety of topics.
Songs as Pedagogical Tools
One advantage of using songs in the young learner classroom is their flexibility. Songs can be used for a number of purposes and there are many reasons why songs can be considered a valuable pedagogical tool. Songs can help young learners improve their listening skills and pronunciation, therefore potentially helping them to improve their speaking skills (Murphey, 1992). Songs can also be useful tools in the learning of vocabulary, sentence structures, and sentence patterns, not to mention their reflectivity of mother tongue culture (Murphey, 1992). Perhaps the greatest benefit to using songs in the classroom is that they can be fun. Pleasure for its own sake is an important part of learning a language, something which is often overlooked by teachers, and songs can add interest to the classroom routine and potentially improve student motivation. »Click here to download this paper completely (pdf)»»…