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    #1

    Lightbulb Why you should be using songs in your ESL classroom

    Hi guys, I'm new to this forum so glad to be here!

    I just wanted to start off by giving back some information to teachers around the world, from whom I've learned so much, and today's topic is how you can use songs in your ESL classroom to engage your students are created better lessons.

    First of all - why songs? Firstly, because playing a song in today's classroom is relatively easy to do. Just take your phone and a set of small speakers into class is the worst case scenario. Most classes already have the setup needed to be able to play songs.

    So how can songs be used to engage students? Here are some ideas:

    1.An opener for classroom discussions and debates

    Artists write songs on many different topics and you can use this to your advantage. If you are covering a topic that could lead itself to different opinions, why not use a song to introduce the topic or just before the actual discussion? This gives students a break from the usual medium of information (just words) and personally, I find that it helps them reflect more than if I had just presented a topic using words.

    2. Tense explanation

    This is also a great one that I love to use. Songs are written about someone's past, present and future with all of the different combinations of those tenses. In some cases, you'll find that a song will instantly pop into your head once you are planning your lesson. In that case - great! That song can be used to give a better explanation to students about your lesson. If not, you might have to do some research - but you're already doing that, so why not include a song in your class?

    3. Conditionals

    Maybe you've thought about this before - maybe not. In any case, I always think of the song "If I Were a Boy" by Beyonce whenever I think of the song + conditional combination. I've also used this song a couple of times in class and it works wonders. Give it a go!

    4. Vocabulary Builder

    Just like any other piece of content that we give our student, a song can be an ideal source of expanding students' vocabulary. Make sure that they students are aware of the context of the song and then try to elicit unknown vocabulary using the song's context. Just another way of doing things instead of just giving a reading text and eliciting vocabulary that way.

    5. Working out the context

    You can also reverse point number 4. Find a song that has vocabulary which students will probably know the meaning of and elicit its context. Elicit feelings. Elicit what could happen next in the situation. You'll find that students will place themselves in the musician's shoes and really get into this activity.

    There you have it. My top 5 ways in which you can use songs in your ESL classroom. Try out any of these and let me know how it goes.

    Cheers,
    Kevin
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 11-Dec-2015 at 22:17. Reason: Removed excess line breaks

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Why you should be using songs in your ESL classroom

    I teach adult learners, one-to-one, in public places! Much as I would love to suddenly break into song or set off my iPod, I don't think it would go down too well. I'm tempted to try though!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: Why you should be using songs in your ESL classroom

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I teach adult learners, one-to-one, in public places! Much as I would love to suddenly break into song or set off my iPod, I don't think it would go down too well. I'm tempted to try though!

    Why not? I also give one to one lessons to adult learners and usually I am in a public section of the library where some talk is allowed. All I do I plug a set of headphones in my laptop and another in the student's laptop and we're good to go.

    Or if the student doesn't have a laptop, I'll have the same song on my mobile and I play the song on my laptop for the student to listen to whilst I listen on my mobile phone - or vice versa.

    What do you think about that?

    Thanks!

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    #4

    Re: Why you should be using songs in your ESL classroom

    I'm glad you've found a way to incorporate it into your lessons in a public place. However, I don't take a laptop, iPod or headphones to my classes and my phone is switched off throughout (as is my student's).
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: Why you should be using songs in your ESL classroom

    I can see the pros of using songs, but we also get a disproportionate number of questions in the forum from learners struggling with the contradictions and grammatical oddities thrown up by songs. They are a resource, but they also cause problems.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 12-Dec-2015 at 21:17. Reason: Fixed typo

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    #6

    Red face Re: Why you should be using songs in your ESL classroom

    I think that using songs in ESL lessons is a great idea for all of the reasons that others have posted. Also, because the speaking skills, more than reading and listening, tend to provoke the most anxiety for learners, music helps them to become calm and see English class as fun. It can be used as an icebreaker activity and after singing, ( we turn down the lights and turn the music up), everyone is less self-conscious and relaxed ready to discuss the topic of the lesson.

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    #7

    Re: Why you should be using songs in your ESL classroom

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I'm glad you've found a way to incorporate it into your lessons in a public place. However, I don't take a laptop, iPod or headphones to my classes and my phone is switched off throughout (as is my student's).
    Sounds like a self-imposed rule. If you just don't like the idea, because you're a stickler about electronics use, then so be it. However, welcome to 2016. We use electronic devices. If I can manage a class of 30 teenagers with them, you can probably manage one adult.

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    #8

    Re: Why you should be using songs in your ESL classroom

    I teach only one-to-one. I'm not dissing the use of technology at all. I teach almost exclusively conversational English (use of English) these days so it is indeed my choice to keep technology out of my classes.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: Why you should be using songs in your ESL classroom

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroTX View Post
    However, welcome to 2016. We use electronic devices.
    Who's 'We'? There are an awful lot of us out there who don't, or at least don't use them much.
    If I can manage a class of 30 teenagers with them, you can probably manage one adult.
    I find with my one-to-one lessons, my clients generally prefer human interaction. 'Managing' one adult involves dealing with them as fellow rational beings. Although I have used, and still do occasionally, my laptop with an individual leaner when it is relevant and helpful, I do not feel obliged to use one just to show that I know what year it is.
    Last edited by Piscean; 14-May-2016 at 22:33. Reason: Format correction

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    #10

    Re: Why you should be using songs in your ESL classroom

    Electronic devices have their place in the classroom, but that doesn't mean that they cannot also be a distraction. It depends entirely on the manner of their use.

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