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V.V. - Australia said:
Songs in the ClassroomHistory reveals that music and song have been an integral part of cultures throughout the world from earliest times. Songs have been used to record the history of various races and are still handed down to succeeding generations as a means of instruction for the younger generations. Music is part of daily life and everyone whether they desire or not is exposed to music, in this technological society. Advertisers have long recognized the benefits of music in advertising and use the power of persuasion so the potential customer associates the catchy lyrics with a particular product. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that songs can also be a useful tool in acquiring language. Neurological research has established that music has a positive impact on verbal memory. Verbal memory is essential to all children learning to read. In a study done by P.T. Ackerman, (Ackerman and Dykman1993), he found that poor performance in verbal memory is associated with reading disabilities. A number of research studies show that children who participate in music tend to score a higher result in comprehension than older children with no music ability. In a study conducted by I. Hurwitz ( Hurwitz.et al 1975), students all the same age with equivalent IQs and with the same socio- economic status were place in two groups. No special treatment was given to either group but one group was given musical instruction with emphasis on melody and rhythm. The other group had no music at all. When tested, the students from the music group had significantly higher reading scores than the others. Auditory skills are the first thing a child needs in language development and listening is the first thing necessary in language learning. Learning to listen is a prerequisite for listening to learn. (abc music and me.com) Learning is dependent on a lot of listening and this skill must be learnt. There is substantial evidence that vocabulary is acquired incidentally by reading and listening to oral stories. (Krashen 1989). Brain research (Flohr et al, 1996) shows music training changes and improves brain function related to listening. Researches Goh and Taib (Goh and Taib 2006) found that songs and musical activities are effective in building listening skills. Phonological and phonemic awareness is used to read and build words. The human brain processes music and language in the same way especially rhyming songs. A link between music ability and phonemic awareness is supported by brain research in adults and children. A study by Stanford researches ( Gaab et, al 2005), found that musical training improves how the brain processes the spoken word. Children with disabilities. especially autism, improved in their communicative behaviour when given music therapy. ( Edgerton 1994). In light of the above evidence, it seems that music could be an integral part of school cirriculums not only from the artistic side but used in the classroom as a tool to facilitate language learning. Children love song, dance and rhythm. They don?t have to be coaxed to sing but do like the teacher to join in as well. Different styles of music can be used for varying effects. In the class room, it can used to establish a sense of community within a group, to calm or excite, to aid concentration, to assist memory by association and adds a new dimension to learning. All types of songs can have their place in the classroom, from nursery rhymes through to contemporary pop at the discretion of the teacher. Simple songs generally have recurrent vocabulary and grammar and are useful for young children who learn through repetition. With more complex songs the focus can be on vocabulary, idioms and colloquial speech in more advanced groups. Pop songs can be very suitable, particularly in classes where English is a second language because they use short words which are repeated regularly. The language is mainly conversational and the lyrics are often spoken or sung slower than normal conversation pace. (Murphy T 1992) Music can be a way to acquire vocabulary and enhance comprehension. Songs can be used to set a theme for the lesson , convey a meaning, lead to discussions, debates, stories and explanations at any level of language learning. It is also a useful tool for bpronunciation and intonation. Music instruction is useful in schools from the pure musical perspective but greater use in the general classroom could significantly enhance language literacy as well. To quote an ancient African proverb, ?When the music changes so does the dance.? Bibliography: Ackerman P.T and Dykman R.A 1993. Phonological processes, confrontation naming and immediate memory in dyslexia. Journal of Learning Disabilities 26, 597-69 Edgerton C L (1994) The effect of improvisational music therapy on the Communicative Behaviours of Autistic Children. Journal of Music Therapy 31, 931-62. Flohr J et,al (1996) Children?s electrophysical responses to music. Paper presented at the International Society for Music Education World Conference. Amsterdam Goh C and Taib Y (2006) Metacognitive instruction in listening for young learners. ELT Journal 60(3) 222-232. Goab N, Tallal P, Kim H, Neural Correlates of Rapid Spectrotemporal Lakshminarayanac K, Archie JJ, Processing in Musicians and Non musicians. Glover GH, and Gabriele JDE (2005) Annals of the new york Academy of Sciences 1060. 82-88 Hurwitz I et, al (1975) Non musical effects of the Kodaly music cirriculum in primary grade children. Journal of Learning Disabilities. Krashen S, (1989) The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications: New York Longman Group limited. Murphy T (1992) Discourse on Pop Songs

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