Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chapter Three: Songs, Chants

Functions of Songs in English Language Teaching (ELT)
Why do we use them?

Linguistic Factors:
  • To enlarge the vocabulary background of children 
  • To develop pupils' listening and speaking skills
  • To introduce and familiarize children with the target language culture
  • To improve children's pronunciation 
  • To teach various language functions 
  • To recall grammatical points 
  • To develop auditory discrimination

Affective Factors:
  • To add fun to learning
  • To motivate children to participate -- even shy ones
  • To help teachers get closer to their children
  • To stimulate children’s interest in the new language
  • To create a lively atmosphere in the language classroom
Criteria for Choosing a Song:
Which ones do we choose?

  1. The song should contain limited vocabulary.
  2. It should contain language compatible with that being used in the classroom.   
  1. It should present a limited musical challenge.
  2. The rhythm should be straightforward and repetitive.
  3. Song topics should be within the experiences of children.
  4. It is useful if songs are accompanied by actions.
  5. It is helpful if the words of the songs are highly repetitive and if they have a refrain.
Suggested Steps in Presenting a Song:
How do I present them?
  • Write the song on the blackboard or on a wall chart.
  • Prepare Ss by telling them what the song is about and play a recording or sing it yourself
  • Go through the words or key words and illustrate their meaning through gestures or visuals
  • Say the song line by line. Sing it a line at a time. Students repeat, then sing another line until you sing the entire song.
  • If the song is longer than 4 lines, don’t teach it all in one period.
  • Play the cassette again or sing it and have students sing along.

Step 5: Add Rhythmic Accompaniments:
  • Begin to add rhythmic accompaniment such as clapping, finger snapping, foot stamping or hand shuffling.
  • Consult the music teacher for additional suggestions.
  • Some songs can be used effectively for a game or dramatic play, e.g., "The Hokey Pokey" or "The Farmer in the Dell."
Action Song: 
A song that is sung with actions performed by the students. Children make gestures and move their body along with a song. Total Physical Response (TPR), or giving learners commands to perform, is often used in such 9 songs.

Rhyming, rhythmic language that is spoken by the class in chorus repetition, sometimes with actions.

Jazz Chants:
Special chants written to help with English language learning.

Facial expressions and hand and body actions that can convey meaning.

A phrase repeated after every verse of a song. This part of the song is very important and useful for language learning because this phrase is likely to be the first one memorized by children singing the song.

Words and phrases that end in the same sound to add a musical effect. The rhyme scheme varies according to the song.

Nursery Rhymes:
Short poems with rhyme, rhythm and repetition often used by young children learning their mother tongue. They can also be very useful for young foreign language learners.