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As we know, there are many different ways to teach and learn English. However, it is not easy to teach English for young learners. Good teaching is an art. For a teacher, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing their students smile and laugh while they learn. Therefore, teachers play the important role in the classroom. Teachers must make sure that their children not only get the knowledge but also feel interesting with lesson. The best way to attract children’s attention is using the techniques in teaching process. Using songs in the classroom is a great way for teachers to achieve success with second language learners. Songs have the great effect in the development of language in young children learning a second language. Particularly, teachers can use songs to improve students’ listening skill and pronunciation, and teach vocabulary and sentence structures.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said that music is the universal language of mankind. Some people may not like art, dancing, reading, or movies, but almost everyone likes one kind of music. In Oliver Wendall Holmes’s opinion, music is “to the soul what water is to the body”. “Music stabilizes mental, physical and emotional rhythms to attain a state of deep concentration and focus in which large amounts of content information can be processed and learned” Chris Brewer, Music and Learning. Music is at everywhere, every time we need it: “when we exercise, when we work, when we play, when we worship and even when we die, music is there to reinforce or alter every mood and emotion” (Lynch, 2005)
Song becomes universal language for expressing one’s message. When there is no word or sentence to tell one’s feeling, choosing a song can be one of the ways to say something unspoken. This symptom might happen to all people in various ages. So do our students. Most of students love to listen or sing a song. It gives idea to busy and tired teachers to use songs in teaching English, and could be teachers of other subjects.
Studies have shown that using songs in teaching English brings many benefits.
Firstly, Songs are great for teaching listening. Students can feel bored by listening a narration or dialog as they try to understand the meaning of new words or phrases in context. In contrast, students don’t feel monotonous by listening a song because of the rhythm and melody. For example, the teacher could use the song “Hello” as a good listening activity. The teacher can sing the first three lines of the song “Hello, Hello, Hello, how are you?” and students respond with the following three lines “I’m fine, I’m fine, I hope that you are, too”. Besides, songs also provide students with practice listening to different forms of intonation and rhythm. English has a stress-timed rhythm, for which songs can help to establish a feeling. To practice listening, teacher can use exercises with music is completing the blanks as students listen or listening and choosing the correct words from two words than rhyme, for example cry and try
Secondly, songs can provide the opportunity for vocabulary practice. Teachers can choose songs which are suitable for themes or topics that can provide the context for vocabulary learning. For example, when learning body parts, teachers can use the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” to review new words.
Thirdly, many children’s songs can help teacher teach sentence structures and sentence patterns. Songs can be used to reinforce questions taught in the classroom. For example, the songs “Hello”, “what’s your name?”, “what color is the sky?”,… are very useful for practicing wh-question forms.
In conclusion, using songs in teaching and learning English is a valuable tool. Songs can help learners improve their listening skills and pronunciation. They are also useful for teaching vocabulary and sentence structures. Teachers should use songs suitably to gain the best effects