Home ESL Teacher Utilizing music within the TEFL classroom

Utilizing music within the TEFL classroom

Utilizing music within the TEFL classroom


In case you’re something like this author, you’ll bear in mind among the international language classes you took in class. 

Wonderful, you may not know how one can ask for espresso, the place the financial institution is, or how one can begin a dialog that isn’t about going swimming on Saturday. Nevertheless, you’ll in all probability bear in mind a couple of songs. ‘Frere Jacques’ may encourage fond reminiscences of studying French – or ship shivers down your backbone.

No matter language you realized, likelihood is there’ll be a music or two entwined in these classes. Because it seems, there’s a cause for utilizing music within the international language classroom; it could possibly enhance vocabulary, writing fluency, listening skills, phonetic expertise and different linguistic attributes.

So, get your sheet music out and begin taking notes: we’re going to dive into the world the place TEFL meets music.

Nursery rhymes

It ought to go with out saying that nursery rhymes are significantly helpful for youthful learners. Even in our personal native languages, we’re taught nursery rhymes at a younger age, they usually assist to outline phrases and phrases, cope with syllables for the primary time, and even develop a style for melody.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t essentially simply must be younger learners. Nursery rhymes are extraordinarily helpful for studying phrases and phrases at any age. Wonderful, a category of grownup learners is unlikely to want to know the phrase “and on that farm, he had a cow”, however the level stays.

Giving language a sing-song ingredient can actually enhance punctuation, pronunciation and different key foundational parts of a language. Whether or not you’re educating 5-year-olds or 55-year-olds, any new learners will profit from having easy phrases spelt out by means of music.

Young children in a classroom with instruments

Pop music

Utilizing songs which might be at present fashionable works in a couple of alternative ways. For one factor, it’s a method to join with college students and reveals you have got an understanding of tradition that is perhaps related to them. 

One other benefit is the power to check lyrics: what does at present’s hit music really imply? Studying the lyrics with a category (offered they’re acceptable for the age group!) can deepen an appreciation for the music(s) you’re overlaying, and it provides an additional layer for folks studying English to know what for instance, Taylor Swift, is speaking about.

Moreover, like nursery rhymes, finding out pop music can have massively useful studying outcomes. Lyrics usually use phrasings which seem generally in conversational language or use turns of phrase/idioms that crop up in different listening workouts. What’s extra, combining one thing cultural that college students like with the precise examine of language can solely have a constructive impression, in the identical approach {that a} soccer fan listening to international commentary might need the urge to select up sure phrases.

Does it need to be a present pop music? No, after all not. If you wish to use the Beatles, use the Beatles. If you wish to use the Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Defend Ya Neck’ to make a degree about slang phrasing, then go forward. Once more, that’s, if it’s age acceptable. Belief frequent sense on this one.

Utilizing your personal songs

In case you’re at present imagining Jack Black in College of Rock educating maths along with his Gibson SG, you’re really not that distant.

Utilizing your personal songs, or arising with little ditties whereas attempting to get throughout a linguistic level is much from a horrible concept. The catchier, the higher; simply so long as it teaches one thing of worth, you then’re off to a flyer.

Take, for instance, Fluency MC. On this video, which has racked up tons of of hundreds of hits, Fluency MC explains irregular verbs in a approach that’s immediately memorable. Different TEFL academics may select to make use of totally different genres, however the level stays the identical – if you happen to’re in a position to write melodies that include classes, your college students are prone to decide up what you’re placing down for them.

Wonderful, not everyone has musical expertise. Nevertheless, with music software program so broadly out there, anybody can put a chord sequence collectively and make up just a little music a couple of quirk of the English language. Why not strive it?

Encouraging college students to put in writing lyrics

Now, this may sound far-fetched, however is it?

Take into account your early English classes at main or elementary faculty. You’re prone to have been tasked with writing a poem, or quick fiction. Is an train that includes writing lyrics so totally different? Decide a music that college students will naturally know, and see in case your pupils will be inventive. 

Admittedly, this could be a threat with extra anxious college students, however we’re not suggesting everybody take turns singing to the category. No; this could be a homework project, or one thing that’s carried out in school.

Most pop music lyrics are within the type of verses, a bridge and a refrain. In case you decide a straightforward music template (sorry if you happen to’re into Grateful Lifeless or Software) and ask college students to make use of the vocabulary they need to put collectively some lyrics.

This may be significantly helpful in studying the movement of a sentence and discovering phrases that rhyme in a distinct language. Lengthy-term, that may completely assist in retaining vocabulary – relatively than struggling for a phrase or phrase, your scholar may bear in mind one thing from the music lyrics they wrote.

Worst-case state of affairs, you’ve gotten your college students to try writing in verse in a international language. That may’t be a foul factor.

A person playing the keyboard

Taking part in music within the classroom

If not one of the earlier choices apply or aren’t tempting sufficient for you, there’s a failsafe: taking part in music within the classroom.

Background music can have stimulating results, and support classroom efficiency. In accordance with a 2022 examine into background music and classroom efficiency at California State College, “college students have been surveyed and requested in the event that they felt music helped their productiveness and each single one answered that it both all the time helped or typically helped”. Music within the classroom can have constructive results on consideration, and in some circumstances, assist focus and scale back wayward behaviour.

It additionally works on a unconscious stage. Taking part in English-language music within the classroom whereas college students are engaged on a process can filter in phrases and phrases that college students mightn’t have publicity to elsewhere.

The music doesn’t must be studied, as such. Nevertheless, you may introduce sure artists, themes and phrases whereas college students are specializing in different duties. 

It’s additionally – let’s face it – an effective way to justify taking part in the music you want when you work! Once more, ensure that what you’re taking part in is age-appropriate and has at the least some academic worth that goes past “Properly, why wouldn’t you profit from listening to Tv’s ‘Marquee Moon’?”.

Music and TEFL: A Profitable Mixture

We’re not saying each instructor has to know their minor from their main, their pentatonic from their chromatic, their Mozart from their Mariah Carey. Nevertheless, for the musically inclined TEFL academics amongst you, rejoice: there are advantages to combining the 2!

Whether or not it’s getting college students to put in writing lyrics, or simply taking part in background music throughout courses, music is an effective way to speak language concepts, together with puns, metaphors, wordplay on the whole and sentence construction.

So, no matter whether or not you play the triangle or simply have one thing to say a couple of lyric, think about using music in your TEFL courses!

Concerned about utilizing music within the TEFL classroom? Then get impressed and hearken to the primary episode ‘I Taught English Overseas’ Season 2 with Fluency MC!