Songs are useful in EFL / ESL classes because of so many reasons. They contain authentic language and are a goldmine for language teaching points like grammar, vocabulary and a nice and joyful activity for fostering listening skills. They can also provide invaluable information about cultural aspects of the target language. Some key reasons songs can work exceedingly well in the foreign language classroom include the following:
Ten reasons teachers should use songs
- Songs contain authentic, natural language. This gives students a break from the contrived, stilted language found in many textbooks. Caution should be paid, however, when choosing the appropriate songs as some of them may contain crude or objectionable language.
- They are a goldmine for a wide variety of vocabulary items, including idiomatic expressions and contemporary language.
- Songs activities are easy to prepare. Songs are usually not that difficult to obtain. Teachers can obtain them from the internet or students themselves can afford them.
- Songs can be selected to suit the needs and interests of the students. They can deal with various themes and contain language appropriate for any level. Teachers can select suitable songs accordingly.
- Cultural aspects can be introduced through songs. They are loaded with specificities of target language culture that must be part of any consistent language learning.
- Grammar can be illustrated by the songs. So many grammatical aspects of contemporary language can be introduced through songs.
- Activities using songs are time manageable activities. Any lapse of time would do: 15 minutes , 30 minutes or more. They are flexible activities as far as time is concerned
- They are a source for pronunciation practice. Students are exposed to native speaking accents.
- Songs relate the classroom to the world around us. They have been used as vehicles of protest for civil rights, workers rights, even prisoner’s rights along with an endless number of other causes. They’ve talked about pollution, crime, war and almost every social theme or cause.
- Songs are fun. They create a lively atmosphere in the classroom and reduce the affective filter.
These are only some of the many reasons why songs are useful in the language learning classroom. Do you use songs in your classes? If yes, how do you use them?
Here is a link to a list of some good songs to be integrated into EFL and ESL classes: