How Songs Can be Used as a Didactic Material
Teaching a foreign language involves a whole set of different stages and methods that are guided and put into practice by the teacher.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Maria S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
If music is a “universal language”, and it is furthermore considered as an element inherent to culture, this link between music and the teaching of language can be explored using the song as didactic material.
Often the most playful or innovative moments are the ones that are recorded in the student's memory. Thus, one of the main advantages of using the songs will be the disruption from class routine and the relaxation and motivation they can provide. This methodology can be a way of breaking some insecurity that some students may feel because they are facing a new language.
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Power of Songs
Songs can also evoke vocabulary and expressions that are hardly found in texts, found in manuals or journalistic texts and which are common in everyday language. It is noted the relevance that the intercultural character of music can represent as a way of access to a language and its culture by students of various nationalities and contexts. Indeed those who want to learn a foreign language also want to know the culture of the country. The songs constitute an essential element of the culture because they display the musicality of these people and at the same time carry historical moments or political and social situations.
Some of the benefits of using songs as an important tool for learning English are:* Learning and memorization of phonemes and vocabulary through repeated listening to the text;* Multi-sensory stimuli that songs present - hearing and vision - if a video clip is shown;* Lyrics can be a medium for teaching elements of the civilization, culture, geography, history, and traditions belonging to a particular country;* Song chorus are generally easily memorable;* This type of activity may extend beyond classes as students can listen to songs outside the classroom;
All of the above will have a huge contribution to enhancing communicative skills such as listening comprehension, acquisition of language structures and the practice of pronunciation.
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Choosing teaching materials
The use of songs requires great attention on the part of the teacher regarding their choice. There are several criteria that the teacher should take into account which are common when choosing any other type of teaching materials - the level of the requirement being neither too easy nor too difficult is a basic principle. Clarity of the lyrics is probably the most important aspect to bear in mind: clarity and diction should be as clear in a song as in an exercise in oral comprehension.
Another song exercise that might be very useful is Karaoke. If there are context and willingness on the students’ side to sing a song heard in class, this activity may help them to become familiar with how they speak the language they are learning.
The target audience the teacher addresses will also be part of the song selection process. With the ease of acquiring audio material nowadays, it will be easily accessible for teachers to obtain a song for a diverse audience (child, youth or adult) than in the past.
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Also, we live in an era where much information is transmitted over the internet and social networks. These online platforms can be used to transmit and pass on materials or cultural suggestions in a modern and more stimulating way to students (especially young people).
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