English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 27.1
EA Journal Volume 27 No 1 65 Songs: A useful medium for language and skills practice Arizio sweetinG As surprising as it might seem in times of globalisation and increasingly advanced technology, many international language learners still seem to have a rather limited knowledge of songs and music artists from the English-speaking world. Although many learners are often able to list their favourite music genres such as rock, pop, classical music and others, when it comes to identifying the title of a commonly- known English song, or the name of a famous singer or band, learners often appear to possess a rather insular musical repertoire. Does this happen because the learners’ taste in music is somewhat restricted to certain cultural boundaries? Or is it simply a question of them lacking adequate exposure to English songs in classroom settings? Regardless of what the answers to these questions may be, the usefulness of songs for English language instruction is unquestionable, especially as songs are a good medium for helping learners activate their musical intelligence to improve learning. However, as Vettorel (2007, p 25) suggests, music-based intelligence is often overlooked in language teaching and should be included in language activities more regularly. In this article, a few ideas for using popular English songs in the English language classroom will be presented as a way of demonstrating that songs can not only provide learners with a very enjoyable musical experience, but also function as an instrument for language and skills practice.. Using a song for grammar and speaking practice In arguing a case for the pedagogical use of popular songs for language teaching, Domoney and Harris (1993, p. 235) emphasise that ‘pop music is a good vehicle for trying out a greater variety of working arrangements, particularly group and pair work’. It is true that language learners often enjoy talking about music, especially music which is part of their daily lives. Therefore, by bringing songs which are currently played on the radio into the classroom, teachers are sure to maximise learner-centred interaction and, at the same time, provide them with language practice. Besides, most learners tend to be appreciative when their teacher shows that he or she is in touch with the current music trends.
English Australia Journal 27.2