Songs, Rhymes and Chants in Teaching English

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download


SONGS, RHYMES AND CHANTS You all have passed your teacher training and before we start with our topic, we would like to know who used songs in the class? Naturally, children really enjoy doing rhytmic activities while reciting rhymes. But there are deeper psychological, cultural and linguistic aspects. Children grow up with songs and rhymes and develop their first language by them. Songs and rhymes are the first experienced parts of communication in the childrens mother tongue. They listen and react to nursery rhymes, go to sleep with lullabies sung by their closest care-givers or try to imitate little songs by babbling. So songs and rhymes give them an intimate feeling, a special connection with their human environment and influence the acquisition of their first language in an important way. Analogous to the development of the mother tongue, there are also points supporting foreign language acquisition: music, rhythm and rhymes produce a positive live feeling they motivate to learn and to be active children do not understand all words but do not feel inhibited rhythm supports vocabulary and structure learning TASK: And now there comes the first task for you. Imagine that Vendy is well-known singer Freddie Mercury and you have the amazing possibility to ask him any question. Who would like to start? Freddies task: Try to complete the lyrics and then listen to the CD and correct yourself. Songs and rhymes stimulate the hemispherical interaction. Busy with songs and rhymes the left hemisphere (dealing with vocabulary, structure of the language) and the right hemisphere (dealing with rhyhm, feelings, mimic, gesture, senso-motoric etc.) work together and make learning more effective. So it is small wonder how quick students are at learning songs and rhymes. If the teacher skillfully uses songs and rhymes the students are usually highly motivated. Songs and rhymes are relaxing, they vary the lessons progress, provide fun and action and encourage harmony within oneself and within a group. So the students are learning with fun and more effectively than without these forms. Even shy or slow learning children are giveen encouragement by singing or speaking in choir and so they feel able to speak in a foreign language. Rhymes, chants and songs could be used to give a feeling for the rhythm of the spoken language. Many wellknown rhymes make use of the iambic pentameter, the natural rhythm of the English Language. Practising intonation through reciting rhymes and poems is mostly funny and very effective. TASK: Make 4 groups and in these groups practise the rhyme you got on the paper. Then find out which topics you can teach using that rhyme. You have 3 minutes! One, Two, Three, Four, Five - numbers One 1, two 2, three 3, four 4, five 5, Once I caught a fish alive. Six 6, seven 7, eight 8, nine 9, ten 10, But I let it go again. Why did I let it go? Because it bit my finger so. Which finger did it bite? The little one upon the right. A Week of Birthdays Monday's Child days of the week Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace, Wednesday's child is full of woe, Thursday's child has far to go, Friday's child is loving and giving, Saturday's child works hard for a living, But the child that's born on the Sabbath day, Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay. Songs the idea that languages and customs change over time: Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Three Men in a Tub Rub-a-dub-dub , three men in a tub, And who do you think they be? The butcher , the baker , the candlestick maker, Turn them out, knaves all three. JACK AND JILL Jack and Jill went up the hill, To fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down, And broke his crown; And Jill came tumbling after. Then up Jack got, and home did trot, as fast as he could caper. They put him to bed, and plastered his head, with vinegar and brown paper. - can start a discussion about where we get water now and how people used to go to wells for water and carry the water homeIn our time its hard to escape music and songs as it occupies ever more of the world around us: in restaurants and cafs, shopping malls, at sports events, in our cars, and literally everywhere. It would seem thaat the only place music and song is slow to catch on is in schools! The song stuck in my head phenomenon (the echoing in our minds of the last song we heard after leaving our car, a restaurant, etc., and which can be both enjoyable and sometimes unnerving) also seems to reinforce the idea that songs work on our short- and long-term memory. Songs in general also use simple, conversational language, with a lot of repetition, which is just what many language teachers look for in sample texts. The fact that they are affective makes them many times more motivating than other texts. Although usually simple, some songs can be quite complex syntactically, lexically, and poetically (Leonard Cohens Suzanne), and can be analysed in the same way as any other literary sample. Most importantly, perhaps, songs are relaxing. They provide variety and fun, and encourage harmony within oneself and within a group. Little wonder they are important tools in sustaining cultures, religious, patriotism, and, yes, even revolutions. In practical terms, fro language teachers, songs are short, self-contained texts, recordings, and filmsthat are easy to handle in a lesson. And the supply is inexhaustible! In language teaching, anything we can do with a text we can also do with songs. TASK: In pairs find out as many things as you as a teacher can do with your students using songs in your class. For example: teach vocabulary, write dialogues using the words of a song etc. You have 3 minutes! KEY: write songs,articles about songs, letters to singers, perform songs,make video clips, do interviews, surveys or make hit lists, talk about music / lyrics / singer / group / video clips, use songs to set or change an atmosphere or mood in a classroom, use songs to make a social environment, form a feeling of sommunity, read about the production, performance, effect, audiences of songs, study grammar, practice selective listening comprehension, translate songs, dictate a song, write dialogues using the words of a song, do role-plays (as people in the video clips), use a song for gap-filling, cloze, or for correction, integrate songs into project work, energize or relax classes mentally, practice pronunciation, intonation, and stress, break the routine, do choral repetition, teach vocabulary and culture, learn about your students and from your students, letting them choose and explain their music, have fun! Practically any songs can be useful and to some extent motivating. However, those that the students listen to already and want to hear will probably have the greatest impact on them. We found 2 guidelines for using songs effectively in the classroom: 1. Use the students choice of music and songs as much as possible it has several advantages: - music and song are tools for living, and the topic holds great value, especially when students select the material; - allowing them to choose gives them some responsibility, involves them in the lessons more, and gives school relevance to their everyday lives and concerns; - by looking at songs critically, with student-generated criteria, we can also help them to develop the means to sort out the good from the bad; - for the teacher, it can be a great learning experience in which students actually teach the subject matter, while the teacher is a resource for the language; - it reduces the teacher-time and work spent searching for materials which may not have as much appeal as those which students themselves contribute.2. Keep the student at the centre of the activity: Keeping the student at the centre means that song is basically used as a catalyst to provide the student with material to manipulate in a personally relevant way. Songs are used to get inside the student, to get language out of the student. They appeal to both horizontal and vertical motivational axes: The horizontal axis expresses the external aspect of students experiences: relations with other people, ability to talk about past experiences, to interact with present waiters, taxi drivers and friends, and to plan for the future. This outward-looking kind of reality may in the long run be necessary for motivation, but it is not by itself sufficient. The vertical axis extends through reality that is internal to the learner: feelings, anxieties, and picture of him/herself.Jazz chants (rhythm without a singing melody) Jazz chants aremuch easier and often more fun for children than actual songs (and also for teachers who may lack confidence in their singing). They consist of time-stressed phrases of certain lengths that can be tapped out, with foot, hand, or pencil. They are amazingly simple to write, and you can target the vocabulary and expressions to your particular students. TASK: And we will try a useful technique how to teach students long and difficult words by singing. SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALLIDOCIOUS Sorces: Murphey, Tim: Mucis & Songs. OUP. 1992 (19.4.2012) (19.4.2012)


View more >