Using Music To Teach English as a Foreign Language

Description of the program

The project entitled ”Using Music to Teach English as a Foreign Language” provides a way to use music to make learning English more enjoyable. It brings the rich variety of American folk literature (especially children’s songs) to children who are learning English as a new language.

The focus of the lessons is language development through singing. Some of the following activities may also be important: 1) visual realization - drawing, sculpting with paper or clay, etc.; 2) physical activity - dance, pantomime, etc.; 3) dramatic action - actual staging with costumes and props created by the participants; 4) collaboration and cooperative learning; 5) playing musical instruments.

One of my favorite lessons is “Ten Little Apples” (perhaps better known as “Ten Little Indians”) which can generate a multitude of activities that cover counting and numbers recognition, color identification, adjectives, nouns, prepositions, etc. Another favorite activity is creating a large (oversize) picture book based on the text of a story-song. The students who create each picture must understand their line or verse in order to do the illustration, and then the “Big Book,” becomes a visual aid for the entire class as they sing the song.

The inclusion of music, dance, movement, art and dramatic action provides opportunities for students to experience learning in a variety of modes. And, because children learn a great deal from each other, this project includes collaborative or cooperative learning activities.

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page last updated on 4/12/03