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I'm in Japan teaching in a public jr. high. I feel that music if used properly can make studying fun and also help in learning pronunciation and listening skills. I am attempting to figure out some more modern songs thna the ones my team teaching partners use. I think if I have something that sounds SOMEWHAT similar to today's music it might work better. If I have to continue with The Carpenters or hear Last Christmas once more.. I'm not sure if I can keep my lunch down. Especially given the fact that the latter is ANYTHING BUT a happy song. I'd appreciate any suggestions for songs with reasonably easy lyrics for entry-basic level EFL students. Thanks in advance.
I can understand the problem- the mere mention of Last Christmas made my flesh crawl. As I teach EAP, I don't use songs at all, but I tried a slightly different approach several years ago, which was to use snippets of different types of music not as listening comprehensions, but as a basis for discussion. I found that using some fairly extreme music managed to get some low levelstudents searching for vocab to describe things. A group of post-beginner Afghan students found they had far more adjectives for criticising than they thought when they were exposed to twenty seconds of gabber. ;-)
Well, this isn't really a contemporary song (since it came out in the early 1970s), but it's one I loved as a youth: "Black and White" by Three Dog Night. I mention it because it not only has an infectious melody, it was originally written as a way to teach foreign students to speak English. It's a happy song, with simple yet optimistic lyrics, that encourages hand-clapping and participation.
In case you're not familiar with it, here's the first verse:
The ink is black
The page is white
Together we learn to read and write;
A child is black
A child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight
A beautiful sight.
Although over 14 years ago, whilst attending junior high school (in Japan of course) During class I found English music extremely useful, not to mention entertaining.
I was and still am very grateful for my teacher at that time to have introduced such a scheme when at that time due to rigid Japanese curriculum(textbooks only) was looked upon as very unconventional.
As my opinion is far from professional, If I may take the liberty to include a few titles that may be helpful and still somewhat modern. I hope it grants food for thought at the very least.
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles (of course)
ABC - The Jackson 5
Daniel - Elton John
Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty
Hey Hey We're The Monkeys (My favorite at that time)
Maneater - Hall & Oates
Woman - John Lennon (was popular with the girls)
Well, these are hardly a revelation as all native speakers would know these titles to be sure, as I can link these songs to a part of my life, which looking back was worth more than just the education itself, as helpful as it was.
Best of luck to you, Hopefully Japan is treating you kindly.