15 Dec

Why Music ?

Educators from around the world have written me regarding the use of music for English language instruction. I want to make it clear why I believe that it is such an important topic.  Using music in the ESL classroom is certainly  ”fun.” Yet, the primary reason that I advocate its use is that it is pedagogically sound. Music can accelerate the process of acquiring English.

Speeding up the process of acquiring English is certainly important, as pointed out by a recent report.  Research conducted by the National Center for Research on Evaluation Standards and Student Testing, based at UCLA,recently found that English language learners who were reclassified as being fluent in English in the early grades (e.g., second grade) were less inclined to drop out of high school than older English language learners.  Some English learners are reclassified late in their school careers because they enter school as older learners or take longer to acquire English. In either case, there is a definite need to identify ways of accelerate the process of learning English in order to avoid a mounting dropout rate.

According to the research, there is reason to believe that music succeeds at speeding up the process of acquiring a second language. It has the additional benefit of being enjoyable for learners and teachers.

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16 Mar

Music Videos

Not all music videos support language learning. In order for students to acquire vocabulary through music, the meaning of target vocabulary must be clear. The following music video illustrates this important principle and should be used as a model for instructors wishing to use music videos in their ESL classes.

Unfortunately, the song is a little fast for beginning level ESL students. Yet, it might be appropriate for some intermediate level learners.

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Nothing stops you from doing something similar with your students. Teachers can play this song or any other and ask student groups to choreograph the lyrics. To do so requires students to comprehend what they hear, or if you show them the written lyrics, they are engaged in a reading comprehension activity. Either way, students must first comprehend the lyrics before they can devise dance moves for their group dance. Think of this as a type of musical Total Physical Response!

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09 Feb

Speaking