Using Music in ESL/EFL Class
Music can be incorporated into English class in many different ways. Using music in ESL/EFL class has many benefits for the teacher and students, such as improving memory and concentration, motivating learning, and most importantly, it makes learning fun. Let us not forget how much listening skills improve with regular classes that use musical activities. There are many techniques for using music in class, so let's look at some of the methods.
Song gap fills are an excellent way to introduce vocabulary and grammar. They make students more interested in the language and help provide the students with a context. It's easy to find songs that use certain vocabulary or grammar by searching online. When you do a song gap fill in class, you can make it into a game by splitting the class into teams and numbering each missing word. After listening to the song a few times, you can award points for each correct word and spelling. Many classes in ESL/EFL are also topic-based. When you are introducing a new topic in class, try doing a song gap fill related to the topic, e.g. Christmas, love, etc. This helps to introduce not only the topic, but any related vocabulary.
Music can also be used when you are teaching idioms and slang expressions. Music contains a lot of slang expressions and idioms, so students can learn a lot of new language and expressions by listening to these songs. These types of songs also help to generate class discussion about the meaning of a song.
Playing background music positively affects the mood of a class. Music can be played in the background when students are doing book work or other related exercises. Background music is known to help improve memory. You can also use music as a reward for students. The students can choose or make requests for background music that they listen to while they do book work. You can also play some upbeat music in the background as students are coming in and getting settled at the beginning of class. This helps to create a positive atmosphere. When the music is turned off, it signals to the students that the class is ready to begin.
Music can be used in games to liven up the class and signify when a round starts and ends. Please check our ESL Music Games page for games that can be played with music.
If you have a particularly outgoing class, you may wish to hold a singing or lip-syncing contest. Students could also explain the meaning of their chosen song before they perform. Getting the students to try writing rap songs is another great activity, and it gets the students using different word formations. The students also get to try rhyming for themselves.
If you teach young learners, singing songs together has many benefits. Kids love to sing, and they can learn a lot of language in just a few classes. You can use songs to teach vocabulary, such as 'Old McDonald had a farm' for teaching animals. You can also use songs to teach the alphabet, to indicate transitions from activity to activity, etc. Have a look online for kid's songs and match them with the level of your class.