Several Ways to Implement Popular Songs in the Young ESL Classroom
Songs are very popular in classes for young learners. Children need frequent changes in activities to stimulate their curiosity. Songs are fun and offer a nice way to warm up students and spend out their high-level energy. But songs are likewise an effective way to teach new vocabularies and sentences, improve speaking fluency and develop students’ artistic abilities. Often teachers make use of videos downloaded at YouTube or another online platform, but they can also reproduce songs in a micro-system or even sing or play the song with a guitar or another instrument.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Gabriel C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Planning according to goals and objectives
When deciding which song to pick, teachers should have planned the lesson and have defined the goals and strategies of the class. It is not advisable to choose a song because it is funny and students love to sing it. Likewise, students’ English skills should be compatible with the vocabulary and the speaking pace of the song. There are many songs for kids that are at a fast speaking pace and not too simple vocabulary.
Approach to teaching
Young students learn by repetition, so if teachers pick a song, they need to be consistent and keep using it in the next classes until students can produce it. The vocabulary of the song must be relevant to reach the learning goals previously set. But how can teachers use songs in their classes for young learners?
Some methodologies suggest three steps to teach songs to young learners. The first step is when teachers play the song and perform it singing and dancing with motions. During this time, students should only watch. Teachers must rehearse the dancing motions of the song beforehand and be as consistent as possible.
The second step is the moment to teach the key-words vocabulary of the song. Teachers should have organized what are the key-words beforehand. Teachers drill the key-words and motions of the song to the students with no media. It is time to check pronunciation. Teachers could play some games to reinforce what students have learned, for example, charade games like teachers say the words and students show motions. Last, teachers encourage students to sing the song slowly.
Also Read: The Most Important Traits for TEFL Teachers
Total Physical Response
The third step is the moment that teachers and students perform the song together, playing the media of the song. Time for everybody to stand up and have fun singing and dancing the song. Students might be able to reproduce some motions and sing the song. More than often, they will try to show off enthusiastically what they have learned.
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Songs are, therefore, a great way to teach young students because they offer an opportunity to improve speaking fluency and vocabulary, stimulate students’ artistic abilities, and have fun. Teachers can take full advantage of the potential of songs to reach their learning goals. The three steps methodology suggests a productive way to help teachers reach those goals. It is most likely that after a few classes teaching songs following those three steps, even a very young student could perform and sing songs fluently and eventually starts to produce the vocabularies of the song in other contexts.
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