“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel NO pain”
Even though I’m not a Bob Marley fan, his quote triggered my inspiration and took me to another dimension.
From just listening to music for my own personal pleasure, I went to creating song worksheets for my learners to practise their language skills.
I won’t waste any of your time, so here is my presentation in detail which took place at the 35th International Annual Convention in Greece.
Hit Learners with Music! They feel NO pain!
I had set three aims for this presentation which were:
1. to highlight the importance of songs in an ELT setting
2. to expose teachers to various ways of exploiting songs
3. to give them strong incentives to use songs as part of their learners’ learning process
There’s a poll at the end of this post. Please, vote and let me know if I met my aims!!!
Cutting to the chase
At the very beginning of the presentation, the audience was exposed to a quick input session about the use and benefits of songs in an ELT setting. That way I got them prepared for what would be coming up next!
Once my short input session was over, I got the audience to listen to a medley (my lead-in) and I forbade them to reveal or scream out loud the name of the artist.
After listening, I got them in pairs to discuss and share any information that they knew about the artist. That definitely got them energized and increased their participation.
One minute later, when the hustle and bustle had calmed down, I asked them to check their guesses by showing them some info about the artist – this was my checking of predictions stage!
Then I introduced them to a really cool website which enables them to practice their favourite songs with only one click. Here’s the link to it. At this stage, everybody got a taste of the song which would be our guinea pig for the session. Aha! We did some karaoke! Not everybody participated butI had lots of fun.
The karaoke ended though and I had to bring myself to reality and continue the presentation!
At this point, I should mention that I had provided the audience with a 10-page handout which we would use for practice purposes throughout the presentation.
So to kick off the practice stage of the presentation I asked the audience to turn to the page where the song worksheet could be found.
Here’s the song worksheet:
I explained the procedure for each task separately and checked my instructions so to make sure that everybody had understood. Ι should also mention that Ι had separated the song into four segments. One for each task. Therefore, I managed to follow Jim Scrinever’s view, which is that the tasks should be graded and not the recording.
Since the selected song is an inexhaustible source for practice, I continued with some comprehension questions and then elicitation of functional language (phrases to indicate anger and that you want to get revenge). Here’s the other worksheet:
After the audience had successfully identified the phrases and matched them with their respective definitions, I digressed a bit and focused on another language aspect which was pronunciation. I didn’t really go in detail, I just pointed the opportunities for pronunciation focus which this song provides us with.
Before saying goodbye to my lovely and really hard-working audience, I set a quiz (many thanks to SMARTNotebook) for them to solve so to consolidate the pieces of information that we had covered and raise their awareness of how a song-based lesson can be designed and delivered.
Key Points To Remember
- Medley (lead-in stage of the song based lesson)
- Follow-up speaking activity & slide with artist’s info (activating schemata and checking of predictions)
- Karaoke (instructional scaffolding: introduce the audience to the song, expose them to its lyrics so to work through the song worksheet successfully)
- Listening tasks (focus on listening skills, point that the tasks should be graded and not the recording)
- Comprehension questions (to check understanding and ability to infer mood)
- Functional language (for vocabulary acquisition / enrichment)
- Pronunciation (to focus on vowel sounds and their discrimination)
- Quiz (to consolidate the input theory and check understanding)
That’s all for now! Hope you find this post useful and informative!!!
Here’s my PowerPoint presentation: