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Authentic and Adapted Songs In The Class

Authentic and Adapted Songs In The Class | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Nowadays the ESA method is used all over the world to teach English. ESA is the first letters of the phases of an English language lesson. These three elements are; Engage, Study and Activate. The classic method only included study phase. It wasn’t important to teach how to speak the foreign language in the past. However, it is a big issue now. It is hard to improve speaking skills in a country where English isn’t the first language as the students aren’t surrounded by English and don’t have the opportunity to practice realistic situations.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Safak İ.

Authentic vs. Adapted

Although it isn’t advised to use authentic materials for beginners, it is good to use them for the following levels. As they are real, they help the teachers to maintain interest throughout the lessons. Furthermore, students feel confident when they understand them. One of the most popular real materials is songs. How can we use songs in order to teach English? This question will be the main subject of this essay.


Music is universal. It connects cultures and people. That’s why it makes songs a strong teaching tool. The other advantage is that anyone can reach them, songs are available everywhere. The first thing to do while using music in a lesson is to select a song. This task is the most essential part. The song should be right according to the class’ level, age, culture, interest, and the teacher’s aim. Music can mostly be used in activating part however I strongly believe that teachers can use the songs for the whole phases. To explain in detail; for example in the engage phase teacher can start with getting students just listen to the song and enjoy it. In this phase, the teacher shouldn’t be so serious and correct all the faults. Asking questions about the title of the song can make students tend to start talking.


After getting the students to start to talk and think in English, a teacher can start the study phase. While listening to the song again, the teacher can hand in the lyrics as a worksheet with gap filling or matching. After letting them try to do the exercises, the teacher can explain the new vocabulary (it can also give the teacher some opportunity to teach idioms) or take their attention to the grammar. At the last part of the study phase teacher can give the right answers to the questions.


For the activate phase the class can be divided into groups to discuss the subject of the song or to make a questionnaire about the subject of the song then share the results with the whole class. The teacher can end the lesson by singing the song all together so even the shy students can be activated. Also, the teacher can tell them to learn their favorite song and prepare to sing it in front of the class in the following lessons. If teachers advise students the websites such as Lricstraining, students can go on practicing with songs at home.

Songs Suggestions

Here is a list of songs and some idea to focus on a specific English lesson in order to highlight how we can use songs while teaching English.

Bruno Mars - What is trust? (If Clause & Phrasal Verbs)

Pink - What is true love? (Present Simple Tense)

Also Read: Do I need a TEFL certificate to teach abroad?

One Republic - Why he can’t sleep? (Progressive Tenses)

Counting Stars - Which one is more important love or Money? (Passive Voice)

Beyonce - If I were a boy (If clause, vocabulary)

Mika - Relax, Take İt easy (Present Simple Tense, Vocabulary)

Also Read: Do I need a degree to teach English abroad?

Nursery Rhymes List:

  • Old McDonald
  • Wheels On The Bus
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
  • 12345 Once I caught a Fish Alive
  • Hickory Dickory Dock
  • Humpty Dumpty
  • I’m a little Teapot
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • Incy Wincy Spider
  • 5 Little Ducks
  • Jack and Jill
  • Marry had a Little Lamb
  • 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on The bed
  • The Hokey Pokey
  • 10 ın The Bed
  • Rind Around The Rossie
  • Teddy Bear

Are you ready to teach English abroad?

In my opinion, songs are a great way to take students’ attention and boost their retention regardless of their age, nationality, culture, and language. Not only boosting interest but also the songs will improve the listening skills of the students. Moreover, they will lead to a good discussion in the class and help to teach new vocabulary and to practice grammar. As soon as the teacher chooses the appropriate song according to the level of the class, lyrics will be beneficial at teaching English.

Music is the universal language of mankind. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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