Songs and Rhymes as Effective Teaching Methods in the Classroom
Have you ever wondered why nursery rhymes are one of the first grammar structures taught in the life of a young learner? And how come it is easy for most adults to remember lyrics to a song that they learned in Kindergarten?
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Dee S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Let us analyze a few elements that Song and Rhyme have that make them effective teaching methods in learning a new language in the classroom :
1) Rhymes are Simple.
In Unit 19 of this course, it was stated that it is best to teach very simple grammar concepts to beginner students. Nursery rhymes are short and contain no complex storylines, symbols, and meanings. They cater to most children who generally have short attention spans, therefore, making it a great choice for teaching English to young learners.
2) Rhymes have an Element of Playfulness.
According to contemporary American author Diane Ackerman, "Play is our brain's favorite way of learning". Integrating the concept of play in Early Childhood Education has been practiced widely in modern progressive curriculums. For instance, If a child tries to sing a nursery rhyme while playing with a toy, he or she is already acquiring new sounds and words from the English alphabet with very minimal effort. Learning now becomes integrated with playing!
3) Rhyme and Song have the Element of Repetition.
There is a saying that goes, "Practice makes perfect." An athlete who trains every day repeating the same skills set before progressing to more complicated skills is most likely to succeed in mastering his or her chosen sport. Learning English requires 4 basic skills: listening, reading, writing, speaking. Learners may apply the Principle of Repetition to practice their listening and speaking skills. If a young learner listens and learns to sing the nursery rhyme "Itsy Bitsy Spider", he or she will eventually come to learn the 2 ways of saying the letter "I" in the English alphabet.
The two words "Itsy Bitsy..." teaches children how to pronounce the short "i" whereas the word "Spider" shows how to pronounce the long "i". It's very simple but it works.
For learning adults, the popular song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2 teaches the learner how to construct the Present Perfect Tense.
While Rhyme and Song allow the learners to explore how the English language works, it also helps them visualize and expand their imagination. Imagination plays a very important role in production skills such as writing.
4) Music is Universal.
A song can reach out to any person at any age. Most countries today have considered songs as an expression of their culture and tradition. Hearing and dancing to music evokes certain emotions, therefore, leaving a lasting resonance to the audience. If a person plays a song that he or she likes, it's more likely that the person will be able to memorize the lyrics and melody of that song. It creates an enjoyable experience while learning new sounds, new vocabulary, and new grammar structures.
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After analyzing each of the different elements of Song and Rhyme, no doubt learning a new language through these unique qualities is proven to be an excellent teaching method for both young learners and adults. Because of their universal quality, playfulness, repetition, and simplicity, students and teachers today have access to more creative lessons and enjoyable learning experiences.
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