Friday, November 16, 2012

The power of music when Teaching English to Very Young Learners

How can ELT be made enjoyable and effective in Kindergarten?

One feasible pedagogical application is to integrate English songs into ELT.

Song, a combination of music and lyrics, possesses many intrinsic merits, such as a kaleidoscope of culture,
expressiveness, recitability and therapeutic functions, which render it an invaluable source for language teaching.

In this post I would like to offer five readings that may you interest as a Kindergarten English teacher who believes in music and singing songs as a way to develop Very Young Learners literacy.

1. It has been recognized that there are several levels of phonemic awareness in which children may need explicit instruction before they can begin decoding words on a page. In the next paper you will find practical suggestions for using Mother Goose nursery rhymes to develop phonemic awareness in young learners.


2. Singing allows the children to be actively involved in their learning from a very young age. Singing as an activity can also address the whole child and not just the language learner, as songs often draw on their common experiences outside the language classroom. There are songs for almost every theme or occasion. Not only can we practise common language topics such as numbers, colours, animals, food, actions etc; but we can also explore a range of emotions and situations that are part of the child’s everyday life

3. Songs are an example of expression and performance. They are a medium through which children can develop confidence, develop microskills and learn language.

4. Action songs are very popular among children in the school and, it is not necessary to say that they are always ready to sing a new song or to repeat and old one in a new version. As teachers we have to take advantage of this because they can be used in many contexts with different aims...

5. "Learning to be literate is founded in early activities that may not be immediately related to the task in hand, for example, activ ities such as listening to music, singing songs, learning chants, reciting rhymes and playing musical instruments are known to be linked with success n more formal learning activities such as learning to read and to write.  Listening to music helps children to build the skills of  auditory perception and discrimination.  These will help later with the learning of sound-letter relationships and the connection between spoken and written forms of language. This awareness of the sounds and form of language is frequently referred to as metalinguistic awareness".
Educação & Comunicação, 7, 47-61. ELT in Nursery and Kindergarten: an experiential approach Linda Thompson

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