Using Music in the ESL Classroom

Past Perfect Tense
June 27, 2011
The TIES Gazette – Edition 6
July 12, 2011

Using Music in the ESL Classroom

ESL Songs

I am very passionate about using music in my English classroom as a tool for enhancing my students’ learning experience. Music is a very powerful way to learn new vocabulary and to reinforce grammar structures. Music is fun, memorable,interactive and engaging.

Apart from teaching speakers of other languages English I also train native speakers to teach English through a course called TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at my school. One aspect of that course is how to use music in the classroom, and hopefully some other ESOL teachers out there can get some ideas from this post.

I do a song in the classroom every Friday morning and I usually try to link it to the grammar, vocabulary or theme we have been looking at during the week. There are three main stages which are important to identify when using music within an ESOL classroom.

Pre-Listening | Listening | Post-Listening

In the ‘Pre-Listening’ aspect of the lesson the purpose is to introduce the students to any new or difficult vocabulary, to get them speaking and communicating in English and to prepare them for the song they are going to hear. In this stage you can use ESL crosswords, picture-story activities, jumble words etc… You can adapt many different games or activities and be as creative as possible.

The ‘Listening’ part of the lesson is when you present the song and the students actively listen for certain things. It is important that each time you present the song the students are actively engaged in what they are doing. I usually have several activities in this component of the lesson. I always begin with a ‘Word-Grab’ activity and finish with a ‘Gap-Fill’ activity remembering to do a take-up after each activity.

The ‘Post-Listening’ activity in the lesson is to consolidate what the students have learnt and to give them a chance to use the grammar stuctures or vocabulary which were being used in the song. We always sing the song as a class after the main listening activities.

Over the next few months I will be posting specific activities and videos of songs I have done in my classroom which I am happy for others to use as they see fit. If you have nay questions or any suggestions, please feel free to post below! Cheers 🙂

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