Rabu, 29 Juni 2011

SONGS ARE A FUN WAY TO LEARN ENGLISH


The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day.
I sat there with Sally. We sat there, we two.
And I said, "How I wish we had something to do!"
-from The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss –

You can't expect young children to learn English without a lot of repetition. Making this repetition fun is down to the skill of the teacher and the resources you choose.

Songs are absolutely ideal for language learning as children love them and will want to hear them over and over again - perfect for vocabulary acquisition and language learning. You may have noticed that if you expect your child or pupils to sit still and listen to you while you show them flashcards, you will not have their attention for long, Successful esl teaching is all about variety, movement and using resources that appeal to young children. Young children love games, they love stories and they love songs.

That's why I created these particular songs, as they go hand in hand with the first ten preschool stories, and this was really a missing element in the toolbox. However let me add right now that you can use these songs alone, without the stories too - more on that at the bottom of this page.

English songs can be used for a wide variety of ESL learning and teaching activities. They can start discussions on a topic or even become the centre of debate. This is especially true of songs that develop a particular theme. Songs are also great for teaching listening. One of my favorite exercises with music is completing the blanks as students listen or listening and choosing the correct words from two words than rhyme, for example cry and try. You can teach grammar with songs in many ways.
Music is the universal language, and children respond very strongly to song. Singing together with other children, a teacher or another adult is a joy for kids. It is a fun way for children learning English to increase their vocabulary and pronunciation skills in English. Following the steps below will enable you to choose and teach songs to children that they will love and learn from.
Instructions:
Step 1
Choose a song or songs that will let children use skills they already have, to build their confidence while singing. "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," for example, lets children imitate rowing with their bodies. "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" lets children follow the hand-motions that help reinforce new words for body parts. "Old McDonald Had a Farm" enables children to volunteer the names and noises of familiar farm-animals, either in their original language or in English. Songs like these help children be part of a group before they have learned all the words.
Step 2
Locate pictures, books or toys that can help reinforce words in the song and support new language before and after singing. A picture-book of farm animals lets a child practice saying English animal names; so do animal-figures they can play with. A full-body photo or drawing enables children to correlate body-part names on a body other than their own. You can also help a child learn body parts with puppets or dolls. Toy boats add to "Row, Row, Row" and provide an opportunity to expand English words for other things boats can do, like float or sink.
Step 3
Practice singing your song. This may sound a little silly, but more than one adult has realized, mid-teaching, that he or she has forgotten some of the words. When that happens, you interrupt your child's attention and lose the teaching opportunity. You don't need a great singing voice, but you really do need to know the words to your song.
Step 4
Conduct your activity before you sing. Look at the book with your child/children, or set out toy animals for the child/children to play with.
Step 5
Give children some time to look at the book or play with the toys on their own-there's no point in trying to get their attention to sing if they want to play first.
Step 6
Ask a child if he wants to learn a song. Take an animal or picture to a chair you can share.
Step 7
Teach the song as-is. Don't interrupt for lengthy explanations of what all the words mean. Sing it several times, using gestures or props. If attention wavers, do this again later when child/children show willingness to pay attention again.
Step 8
Praise the child's participation in the project. Compliment all he does right in the song.
Step 9
Add more words when you can: "Let's sing louder/softer/faster/very slowly."
Step 10
Follow up with the same activity or a different one--if you looked at pictures, it's time to get out the boats or play a game about touching other body-parts.

If you are teaching groups of children aged 3 to 6 the preschool stories are the perfect fit and highly recommended compliment to CD 1 songs. The advantage of having the stories is that you already have all the vocabulary flashcards for the words in the songs, black and white vocab. flashcards for colouring and the story illustrations.  The children know the stories and the characters and the song relates to them.
The games are only suitable for small groups while the stories can be used with all group sizes.

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