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Diplomarbeit, 2009, 121 Seiten
Abbreviations and definitions
1.1 Definition of motivation
1.2 Different kinds of motivation
1.3 Motivation in second language acquisition/learning vs. foreign language learning
1.4 Sources of motivation in the EFL classroom
2 Multiple intelligences
2.1 The categories of intelligence
2.2 The implications of MI theory for ELT
2.3 Musical intelligence
2.4 Musical intelligence and the use of songs in the classroom
3 The case for using music and songs in the EFL classroom
3.1 Music in life and music in the classroom
3.2 Research on using music and songs in language learning
3.3 Reasons for using songs in the EFL classroom
4 The use of different types of songs in the EFL classroom
4.1 Definition of songs
4.2 Classification of songs
4.3 Using popular songs with teenagers
5 Pedagogic principles for using popular songs in class
5.1 Criteria of song selection
5.2 Transforming songs into a learning task
5.3 Introduction/ Pre-listening activities
5.4 Listening/ While-listening activities
5.5 Follow-up/ Post-listening activities
6 Pros and cons of teaching through pop songs
6.1 Advantages of using pop songs
6.2 Disadvantages of using pop songs
1.1 Research questions
2 Research part one: Survey among teachers
2.1 Analysis of returned questionnaires
2.2 Overview of research results
2.2.1 List of available resource books dealing with songs
3 Research part two: Survey among students
3.1 Analysis of returned questionnaires
3.2 Overview of research results
3.3 List of popular songs suitable for teaching EFL
3.3.1 Grammar-based popular songs
3.3.2 Vocabulary-based popular songs
3.3.3 Pronunciation-based popular songs
3.3.4 Topic-based popular songs
3.3.5 Popular songs with comprehensible and easy lyrics
4 Research part three: Textbook analysis
4.1 Analysis of different Project editions (diachronic approach)
4.2 Analysis of contemporary textbooks (synchronic approach)
4.2.1 Analysis of textbooks used at lower secondary schools
4.2.2 Analysis of textbooks used at upper secondary schools
4.3 Research results
5 Conclusions and classroom implications
illustration not visible in this excerpt
Although using music and songs in language teaching is not a new idea, little research has been undertaken on the use of pop songs in the EFL classroom. In this study, I analyze the use and value of pop songs from a teacher´s point of view and students´ attitudes to a pop song based experiment. Furthermore, the inclusion of pop songs in lower secondary and upper secondary school textbooks has been analyzed. The research findings show that learning English through pop songs is very popular among teenagers. Teachers use songs regularly within the curriculum and commonly used textbooks include pop songs as well.
I have chosen the topic of using pop songs in the EFL classroom because I strongly believe that working with pop songs is a highly motivational device. When I was a student at a lower and upper secondary school, listening to songs in English classes was my favourite activity. I have always wanted to be able to understand the lyrics of songs I listened to. Later, I realized that I have learned a lot from listening to pop songs and analyzing their lyrics. Therefore, in my diploma project, I would like to prove that using pop songs is a highly motivational device in teaching English with instructional value, and that students enjoy working with pop songs.
The theoretical part of this diploma project is based on relevant sources of background literature. In the first two chapters, the use of songs is described with regard to motivation and the Multiple Intelligences Theory. The third and fourth chapter deal with the reasons for using songs and their classification. In the last two chapters of the theoretical part, pedagogical principles of using pop songs in class, as well as the pros and cons of teaching through pop songs are presented.
The practical part is based on the findings of three surveys I have conducted in the field of using songs in the EFL classroom. In the first part of the research, I present an analysis of questionnaires which I distributed among English teachers at lower and upper secondary schools and grammar schools. In the second part of the research, I describe students´ attitudes to pop song based lessons which I taught during my teaching practice at grammar schools. In the third part of the research, I analyze the types of songs presented in commonly used textbooks at lower and upper secondary schools. In addition, I present a self-developed teaching material containing a list of pop songs suitable for the EFL classroom. In the last part of the practical part, I answer the research questions (see page 44) and provide some implications for my own teaching.
Motivation is one of the most challenging issues which teachers are facing today. It is one of the key issues in foreign language learning. According to Dörnyei (2001), language teachers often use the term “motivation” when they describe successful or unsuccessful learners. During the process of mastering a foreign or a second language, the learner´s enthusiasm, commitment and persistence are the key determinants of success or failure. Motivation is what matters; therefore, even though this diploma project deals with using pop songs in the EFL classroom, the first chapter is devoted to defining motivation and describing various kinds of motivation.
Motivation is an abstract, hypothetical concept which is used to explain why people think and behave as they do (Dörnyei, 2001). It is extremely important in everything we do or want to do because motivation is key to learning a subject in general (Brown, 2007). For educational and pedagogical purposes, it is essential to understand the source of motivation and development of motivation (Kang, 2000).
According to Marion Williams and Robert L. Burden (1997, p. 120) motivation is “a state of cognitive and emotional arousal, which leads to a conscious decision to act, and which gives rise to a period of intellectual and/or physical effort in order to attain a previously set goal.” Harmer (2001, p. 51) defines motivation simply as “some kind of internal drive which pushes someone to do things in order to achieve something.”
Motivation explains why people decide to do something, how hard they are going to pursue it and how long they are willing to sustain the activity (Dörnyei, 2001). Taking into consideration the length of time people pursue a course of action, motivation can be divided into long-term motivation and short-term motivation. Since language learning can be a life-long and never ending process, we need to build up and sustain long-term motivation in order to learn a language.
A distinction has been made in the literature between integrative and instrumental motivation and between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Each individual is motivated differently and the reasons for our actions fall into different categories of motivation.
Integrative and instrumental motivation
In 1972, R. Gardner and W. Lambert carried out one of the best-known and historically significant studies of motivation in second language learning. They introduced the concept of integrative and instrumental orientation to motivation. Integrative orientation to motivation is driven by the desire to identify with and integrate into the target-language culture. In contrast, instrumental orientation to motivation is described as the desire to learn the language for purposes of study or career promotion (Ur, 1996).
Gardner and Lambert´s research was carried out among learners of French in Canada, and was set in the ESL environment; which is quite different from the EFL environment. Therefore, Ur (1996) argues that research since, has cast doubt on the application of integrative and instrumental motivation to foreign language learners in general.
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
The distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is more useful for teachers in an EFL environment, claims Ur (1996). Intrinsic motivation is the urge to engage in the learning activity for one´s own sake. Intrinsically motivated behaviours bring about internally rewarding consequences such as the feeling of competence and success. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is driven by the anticipation of a reward from the outside. Typical extrinsic rewards are money, prizes, grades or positive feedback from the teacher, parents or friends (Brown, 2007).
Most learners are motivated intrinsically and extrinsically at the same time. Both types of motivation play an important part in the foreign language classroom, and both can be at least partially influenced by the teacher.
In the research of which form of motivation is more powerful, Dörnyei and other researchers strongly favour intrinsic motivation, especially for long-term retention (Brown, 2007). Also, Maslow (1970) claimed, according to his hierarchy of needs, that intrinsic motivation is clearly superior to extrinsic.
Hardworking, concentrated and self-confident learners are most likely to study effectively and achieve good results at school. Therefore, having highly intrinsically motivated and aroused learners should be the ambition of each teacher.
Recently, a distinction has been made between second language acquisition/learning and foreign language study (Gardner, 2001). The second language learner lives in an environment where the second language is commonly used. Therefore, the learner has many opportunities to hear and use the language. Also, the learner is in contact with the authentic culture. On the other hand, the foreign language learner learns a language of a group with which the individual has little or no contact. Mostly there is little opportunity to experience the language and the culture first hand.
Another distinction has been made between learning and acquisition. Learning refers to conscious processes for internalizing a second or foreign language; whereas acquisition refers to subconscious processes (Littlewood, 1984). We acquire our mother tongue or a second language in a bilingual environment.
Robert Gardner, the most influential L2 motivation researcher to date, argues that the dynamics and motivation involved in learning these two different types of language may be quite different. A second language learner has mostly a strong internal interest to learn the language so that one can integrate himself in the society using the second language. The foreign language learner´s intrinsic motivation is not that strong because the learner does not need the language to “survive” in the society. The learner gets in contact with the foreign language mainly in the formal classroom and the foreign language teacher is the only person, who presents the language. Therefore, foreign language learners need extra-motivational devices to increase their intrinsic motivation.
Many foreign language educators have claimed that the integration of language and culture could function as a positive attitude and further motivation to study a foreign language (Kang, 2000). Therefore, culture study should be incorporated into the foreign language learning. Several traditional activities such as “culture assimilator” (role plays based on the cross-cultural differences), mini drama, field trips, visits by native speakers, exchange programmes and utilizing authentic materials has been used for a long time. Also, the idea of using music and songs in the teaching of languages, which is the topic of my diploma project, is not a new one.
The motivation of English learners can be affected and influenced by a number of people and other factors. Since they form a part of the learning process it is worth considering what and who they are (adopted from Harmer, 2001).
The society we live in
Learners are influenced by attitudes to English language learning. How important is the learning of English in the context of the society? Is the language learning part of the curriculum of high or low status? Are the cultural images associated with English positive or somewhat negative? All these views of language learning will affect the student´s attitude and have a profound effect on the degree of motivation.
Parents, siblings, peers
The attitude of parents and older siblings is very crucial. Do they approve of English learning? Is the student´s success in English important to them? Also, the attitude of a student´s peers is crucial. They may discourage the learner from learning English if they are critical of the subject. However, they may take the learner along with them if they are enthusiastic learners.
The teacher is clearly a major factor in the learning process and in the degree of motivation. What is the role of the teacher in the classroom? Does the teacher have the role of a facilitator or an authority figure? Also, the teacher´s own attitude to the language and to the task of learning is vital. An obvious enthusiasm for English and English language learning is a prerequisite for a positive classroom atmosphere.
Success occurs when both teacher and students are comfortable with the method being used. In case the method does not suit the learner or the teacher is not convinced about the method, motivation may be disastrously affected. In the 1970´s and 1980´s, learning approaches such as Community Language Learning, The Silent Way or Lozanov´s Suggestopaedia, where music plays an important role, have had an important impact upon language learning. In the past two decades, considerable interest among teachers has provoked Gardner´s Multiple Intelligences Theory, Asher´s Total Physical Response and Cross-curricular approaches.
Some students are better at learning languages than others. Therefore, it is necessary to take an individual´s learner characteristics into consideration, such as different types of learner´s intelligences, learner´s aptitude, personality and learning styles.
Learning styles are simply different approaches or ways of learning. We each have our own preferred learning style and a way how we process information. According to the Neuro-Linguistic Programming, we take in information mostly through the eye, ear and movement. Michael Berman (1998) describes three different types of learners according to their learning styles:
- Visual learners learn through seeing. They might think in pictures and learn best when visual aids are used. In a classroom, visual learners prefer to take detailed notes to absorb the information.
- Auditory learners learn through listening. They learn best through verbal lectures, discussions and listening to others. They benefit from reading texts aloud and the use of a tape recorder. In a classroom, auditory learners need to hear the new language. Also, listening to music might be very helpful.
- Kinesthetic learners learn through moving, doing and touching. They learn best through a hands-on approach. In a classroom, they will probably respond well to TPR (Total Physical Response) activities, games and role-plays.
The awareness of learning styles has important implications for teachers. By identifying a student´s preferred learning style, the teacher can work towards the varied strengths, and take advantage of them in the process of learning. To motivate and reach everyone in the group, the aim of the teacher should be to teach multi-modally (Berman, 1998). A detailed knowledge about the Multiple Intelligences Theory (often abbreviated to MI theory) might help teachers in achieving this aim. Therefore, I would like to devote the second chapter of my diploma project to this popular theory.
Current research shows that many students enter school unprepared to succeed in a conventional educational environment (Altan, 2001). Traditional teaching methods, favouring verbal and mathematical skills, do not seem to address the needs of these students. It is highly probable that many students, labelled as underachievers, have a learning style that differs from the prevailing teaching style.
As a possible answer to this problem, in 1983 the Harvard psychologist Howard Garner publishes Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. He suggested that a human does not possess only a single intelligence, but a range of intelligences, each with its own observable and measurable abilities. Gardner (1993, p. 7) defines intelligence as “the capacity to solve problems, or to fashion products, that are valued in one or more cultural or community settings”. This new look at intelligences greatly differs from the traditional view, which usually recognises only two intelligences, verbal and mathematical, covered by the Intelligence Quotient (Altan, 2001).
Gardner identified seven original categories of intelligence – linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence, musical intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence – and has since added – naturalistic intelligence – and thinks about a ninth and tenth – existential intelligence and moral intelligence. They have not classified as “intelligences” so far. However, the list is not meant to be final or exhaustive.
Weinrich-Haste (1985) claims that many people are surprised at some of the intelligence categories that Gardner has selected because they do not think of the areas of bodily-kinesthetic and personal intelligences, which Goleman (1995) approaches under the term “emotional intelligence”, as being related to “intelligence”. They suggest referring to them more as talents or aptitudes.
However, the theory of multiple intelligences is revolutionary in the field of education and offers a new perspective on teaching styles where individual differences amongst students would be taken into account. Therefore, I would like to briefly describe each of the intelligence proposed by Gardner and presented by Altan (2001) and Christison (2005).
- Linguistic intelligence: the ability to use language effectively both orally and in writing.
- Logical-mathematical intelligence: the ability to understand the basic concepts of numbers and to use reason well.
- Spatial/visual intelligence: the ability to have sensitivity to form, space, colour, line, and shape.
- Musical intelligence: the ability to enjoy, recognize, perform, and compose musical pieces and have sensitivity to rhythm and pitch.
- Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence: the ability use fine and gross motor skills and express ideas and feelings through it.
- Interpersonal intelligence: the ability to understand, work effectively with and get along well with others.
- Intrapersonal intelligence: the ability to understand yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, moods, desires and intentions.
- Naturalistic intelligence: the ability to find patterns and recognize and classify plants, animals and minerals.
- Other categories of intelligence:
Existential intelligence: the ability to locate oneself with respect to the furthest reaches of the cosmos and with respect to the most existential features of the human condition.
Moral intelligence: the ability to figure out how intelligence and morality can work together to create a world in which a great variety of people will want to live.
The most important point here is to emphasize the plurality of our intellect. Everybody possesses all kinds of intelligences; however, we are born with diverse talents and aptitudes. Therefore, our intelligence profiles differ. This fact should be taken into consideration by all educators. It would make life easier for many students whose linguistic and mathematical intelligences are insufficient to succeed in our education system but they may excel in the other kinds of intelligences.
Accepting Gardner´s theory of multiple intelligences, it becomes clear that it has far-reaching implications for EFL teachers in terms of choosing a suitable teaching style and lesson plan. They should think of all intelligences as equally important because as the MI theory states, all intelligences are needed to function productively in society.
Christison (2005) and Altan (2001) present some key points that teachers find attractive about the theory. Firstly, teachers can help students to understand their abilities. They can make the students aware of their strengths and weaknesses and show them how to use their abilities efficiently. Secondly, teachers can build up students´ confidence so they will be willing to take educational risks, which is one of the key points to success in learning a foreign language. Thirdly, they help students to learn more effectively by stimulating and developing several kinds of intelligences and providing meaningful experiences. The last key point, why teachers find the theory attractive, is a more accurate way to assess students. Altan (2001) mentions that teachers, in fact, are concerned about the way how to assess learners with regard to multiple intelligences. However, he believes, as well as Gardner (1993), that in order to assess learners fairly a holistic picture of what students know and can do is needed.
The challenge for the teacher is to incorporate as many different kinds of activities as possible into the lesson, so that all students can benefit from it. Berman (1998) and Christison (2005) offer a wide range of activities to promote each kind of intelligence starting with listening to stories, analysing grammar, making charts and maps, acting in short plays, using rhythm to learn, playing vocabulary games and ending with learning logs. Each of these activities addresses another kind of intelligence and can be used in the EFL classroom. Therefore, EFL teachers have the possibility to address and motivate all learners.
Although, it is undeniable that taking into account and fostering the different types of intelligences can improve learning, musical intelligence is too often ignored in the classroom (Vettorel, 2007). Musical intelligence could be stimulated by incorporating music and songs into activities or using background music. This would cater not only for learners with a developed musical intelligence, but also for learners who have a preference for auditory input. Furthermore, research has shown that listening to music can positively affect meaning-processing and long-term memory.
Berman (1998) presented a “Multiple Intelligences Checklist” which he adapted from an article by A. Christison. He describes a learner with a strong musical intelligence as someone who:
- can hum the tunes of many songs
- is a good singer
- plays a musical instrument or sings in a choir
- can tell when music sounds off-key
- often taps rhythmically on the table or desk
- often sings songs
In the EFL classroom, musical intelligence can be promoted through learning tasks that have to do with music, rhythm and rhyme such as listening to songs, playing background music during tasks, singing songs or rhythmical speaking to Jazz Chants. Through songs, we can tap not only into learner´s musical intelligence, but also cultivate other intelligences at the same time, such as linguistic intelligence (listening), mathematical (predicting), bodily-kinesthetic (Total Physical Response), interpersonal (group discussion) and intrapersonal intelligence (personal choice in songs). Using different kinds of activities with songs, the teacher can create a rich learning environment and offer students methods of learning using other intelligences, apart from musical intelligence.
The idea of using music in language teaching is not a new one. Music and songs play an important role in the world and they play an extremely important role in the lives of teenagers and young people. Therefore, music and songs have a legitimate part in teaching a language.
Learners with a well-developed musical intelligence are sensitive to sounds. They often sing and hum a song and they are able to remember and reproduce melodies. Presenting these learners with songs will enhance the learning experience. However, all learners will benefit to some extent because everybody has a musical intelligence developed to some degree. Each person listens to songs and most people enjoy it. Moreover, songs create a relaxed and fun atmosphere in the classroom and often include lots of repetition, rhyme and large chunks of language which are more memorable. Generally, learners are engaged in listening to songs and speaking activities designed from them. Therefore, using songs in language classrooms is a highly motivational and effective device in learning a foreign language, as long as some principles of how to work with songs, are followed.
Music speaks what cannot be expressed,
Soothes the mind and gives it rest,
Heals the heart and makes it whole,
Flows from heaven to the soul.
Hans Christian Andersen
“Music is everywhere and all students have musical tastes” (Murphey, 1992, p. 5). As Murphey (1992) points out, it is hard to escape music because music is all around us: in restaurants, cafés, bars, discos, shopping centres, at sports events, in our cars and even in operating theatres (for example for heart transplants and childbirth). The only place where music and song are slow to catch on is in schools.
The use of music and song in the classroom can stimulate very positive associations to the study of a language, which otherwise may be seen as a difficult and frustrating task. It is very common to forget almost everything from the foreign language lessons except the few songs that had been learned (Abott, 2002).
Songs stick in our minds for various reasons. Primarily, they are highly memorable because of the rhythm, rhyme and repetition of words and phrases. Songs in general, use simple and conversational language, however, they can be quite complex syntactically, lexically and poetically (Murphey, 1992). Moreover, they are relevant to students and according to Lo and Li (1998), they provide a break from regular classroom routines because they are relaxing and fun. Abott (2002) points out, that although some teachers consider using songs only as time fillers, in fact, music and song activities can be used in a variety of ways to appeal to a wide range of learning styles and preferences.
Music is one way of involving students in meaningful, enjoyable and relevant activities (Domoney & Harris, 1993). Murphey (1992) finds it useful to remind teachers of what we naturally do with music and songs and then to compare it to what we can do with it in the classroom.
A. What do people usually do with songs in everyday life?
2. Sing, hum, whistle, tap and snap fingers while listening
3. Sing without listening to any sound track.
4. Talk about the music
5. Talk about lyrics.
6. Talk about the singer/group
7. Talk about video clips
8. Use songs and music to set or change an atmosphere
9. Use songs and music to make a social environment
10. Read about singers or bands, concerts, producers and authors of music and songs
11. Use music in dreams
12. Use music and song to make internal associations with people, places and times in our lives
13. Some people also write or perform songs, make video clips, write articles, do interviews or surveys, make hit lists
(Adopted from Murphey´s book Music and Song, 1992)
B. What can we do with songs or texts about songs in the classroom?
1. Practise listening for specific information (gap-fill, cloze, correction)
2. Study grammar
3. Translate songs
4. Dictate a song
5. Practise pronunciation, intonation and stress
6. Teach vocabulary
7. Teach culture
8. Discuss the song and the lyrics of the song
9. Integrate songs into project work
10. Energise or relax classes mentally and create a relaxing classroom atmosphere
11. Use background music for other activities
12. Break the routine
13. Have fun
(Adopted from Murphey´s book Music and Song, 1992)
The lists above suggest that there are many ways of exploiting music outside of classes and there is a wide range of activities that we can do with music and songs in the classroom as well. However, they are only a proposal of different kinds of activities and are not meant to be final or exhaustive. Murphey (1992) suggests that teachers have to be careful not to kill the material by doing too much serious work with music and songs in the classroom because the most important thing is to have fun with music and songs.
During the past two decades, a number of articles have been published that provide English teachers with ideas about using music and songs in the classroom (Horner, 1993; Ward, 1993; Lowe, 1994; Saeki, 1994; Orlova, 1997; Lo & Li, 1998; Sanderson, 1998; Coffey, 2000; Jedynak, 2000; Nilsen, 2003; Goodger, 2005; Wingate, 2005; Jannuzi, 2006; Payne, 2006; Walker, 2006; Vettorel, 2007). However, few studies have been conducted on the specific language gains attributable to the usage of music and songs.
D. Kramer (2001) argues that foreign language teachers need to shift from learning-based activities to more acquisition-based comprehensible input supported by pictures, authentic texts or realia. He points out, that songs in the foreign language classroom can help motivate students to learn the target language because songs are authentic texts representing various socio-political and historical aspects. Furthermore, songs may positively affect cognitive processing because music is processed in the right brain hemisphere and speech in the left brain hemisphere (Kramer, 2001). In other words, when we listen to music both brain hemispheres work simultaneously. As a result, learning can be accelerated because it is processed in both hemispheres.
According to Fisher´s (2001) research on early language learning with and without music, music can be used in a classroom to benefit students´ language development. His findings suggest that using music in class can positively affect students´ behaviour and enthusiasm.
Medina (1990) found out that music is a viable vehicle for language learning to the same degree as other non-musical means. With regard to this finding, he suggests that songs can no longer be regarded as entertaining devices only.
There is an agreement amongst researchers on the complementation of music and songs into the foreign language curriculum, but there are debates about the degree of incorporation of music and songs into the EFL curriculum. Medina (1990) is convinced that musical means of promoting language learning should occupy a more important role in the language learning curriculum than it does. Fisher (2001) supports this idea and suggests that songs should be based on the curriculum themes or language structures being taught, therefore, the addition of music and songs to a classroom must be planned very well. Maxwell (1999) thinks also that music and songs are a valuable teaching tool, however, he points out that music should be only one of many elements that make up a successful language learning program. In contrast, Kramer (2001) argues that when teachers regard songs as only one tool among many, they are employed only randomly. He supports a music curriculum in the teaching of a foreign language which incorporates music and songs into an overarching pedagogical strategy.
Songs have always been part of the human experience. Since the teaching methods have changed over the past decades in favour of the communicative and learner-centred approach, it is natural to encounter them in English classrooms as well. Using songs can be motivating to students who enjoy music, which most of them really do. Schoepp (2001) claims that songs have become an integral part of our language experience and that they can be of great value if used in coordination with a language lesson. They can be incorporated into a variety of activities fostering all language skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking), as well as language systems such as pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. Furthermore, using songs can create a relaxing and pleasurable classroom atmosphere and significantly enhance pupils’ intrinsic motivation to learn English.
A large amount of literature which discusses the value of using songs in EFL classroom is not based on research, but mostly upon teacher experience. However, the affective, cognitive and linguistic reasons for using songs which follow are all grounded in learning theory (Rahman ; Schoepp, 2001).
- Affective reasons: The Affective Filter Hypothesis is one of five proposed hypotheses developed by Stephen Krashen. This hypothesis is related to language acquisition and appeals to teachers because it provides a description of affective factors and an explanation of why some learners learn and others do not. According to Krashen, high “integrative” motivation, self-confidence and low anxiety relate to success in learning a language. Krashen (1983) explains that for optimal learning to occur the affective filter must be weak, which means that a positive attitude towards learning is present. The practical application of the Affective Filter Hypothesis is that teachers should provide a positive classroom atmosphere so that effective language learning can take place (Schoepp, 2001). Songs are one method for achieving a weak affective filter and promoting language learning. Many researchers believe that songs provide enjoyment and develop language skills and language systems.
- Cognitive reasons: Songs also offer opportunities for developing automaticity, which is the main cognitive reason for using songs in the classroom (Rahman2). He refers to a definition of automaticity by Gatbonton and Segalwitz (1988), who describe automaticity as “a component of language fluency which involves both knowing what to say and producing language rapidly without pauses.” Using songs definitely helps, thanks to their repetitive and rhythmical character and their ability to help students remember words, phrases or even whole sentences and so enhance the process of automaticity in language learning. Moreover, Rahman2 points out that studies have shown that brain function is increased when listening to music and this promotes more complex thinking.
- Linguistic reasons: Of course, there are also linguistic reasons for using songs in the classroom. Songs provide many examples of colloquial English, different accents, grammar structures and topics for discussions. Cross draws attention to the fact that songs are known to be a negative source of grammar input, therefore, they must be well chosen. On the other hand, through songs learners can be exposed to authentic language, which is an important factor in promoting language learning.
For these reasons, songs can be seen as a device having highly instructional, not only entertaining, value. Although only a few studies have been conducted in the field of using music and songs in the language classroom, the findings are cohesive and convincing.
In this chapter, a definition of songs will be presented, as well as a classification of songs which can be used in the EFL classroom. A special part will be devoted to using popular songs with teenagers.
According to the Longman dictionary of contemporary English, a song is “a short piece of music with words for singing”. Although they have some elements in common with speech and poetry, they represent a unique form (Griffee, 1992). Songs are linguistically meaningful, have melody and can be listened to. What is special about them is the fact that songs have a personal quality that makes the listener react as if the song was sung for them personally (Griffee, 1992). This quality of a song is very important for teachers with regard to promoting motivation in EFL. Songs provide an inexhaustible amount of relevant topics for learners because of the personal quality each good song conveys.
Different kinds of songs can be used in language classrooms. As Murphey (1990) points out, it is very difficult to decide which kind of songs are best for using in the EFL classroom because any song will usually be welcome and will work to some extent. However, some kinds of songs work better with a particular age group.
I will present three major categories of songs based on Murphey´s (1990) research:
- Made-for-EFL songs: Made-for-EFL songs are artificial songs created for the purposes of teaching English so that they best suit grammatical structures, sounds, vocabulary or topics being discussed in classes. Made-for-EFL songs can be found especially in older textbooks.
- Traditional / folk songs: Traditional/folk songs originated in the native environment and contain the vital concerns and characteristics of people of a certain nation and supply many notes and historical background of the songs (Murphey, 1990).
- Contemporary songs: Contemporary songs are popular songs which can be heard in the out-of-school environment of students. They can be of any music genre – pop, rock, hard rock, rock n´roll, R&B, rap, heavy metal, punk, reggae or others.
According to my experience I would like to add three other categories of songs:
- Jazz chants (made popular by Carolyn Graham): Jazz chants are easier for children than actual songs. They consist of time-stressed phrases of certain lengths that can be sung, read aloud or tapped out with foot, hand or pencil.
- Action/TPR songs (Total Physical Response was introduced in the 1960´s by James Asher): In action songs the music ties words and motion together, which increases memorability. The idea is that students sing, move and do what is sung or said.
- Classical songs: Classical songs are pieces of classical music, mostly without words. Cranmer and Laroy (1992) have found out that classical music is very effective for the purpose of stimulating images in the inner eye. Classical music may be used as background music for other activities.
Popular songs have a powerful impact on teenagers. No one has to force them to listen to popular music even though it is not sung in their mother tongue. They listen because they want to. Moreover, popular songs are part of what makes a generation a generation and the current “YouTube generation” is a global generation. The world is developing a common culture and popular songs are its backbone (Griffee, 1992).
Therefore, using popular songs in the classroom is a very powerful device in promoting motivation in the EFL classroom. According to my own research, which will be discussed in the practical part of the diploma project, students want to work with popular songs in English lessons. Therefore, it would be a pity to ignore this “I-want-to” phenomenon which is very rare at school.
As for the other types of songs, jazz chants and action songs are very effective, however, only with younger learners (Murphey, 1992). Generally, teenagers like neither classical music nor traditional/folk songs, which are seen as old-fashioned (Cranmer & Laroy, 1992). However, as Ward (1993) points out, they have several advantages; such as the fact that traditional songs will not be out of fashion next year and that they are no longer in copyright unlike popular songs. Made-for-EFL songs are created so that they best suit the classes; however, they sound artificial and awkward to teenagers. Therefore, contemporary popular songs seem to be the only type of songs relevant to teenage students.
In this chapter, the pedagogic principles for using popular songs in class will be presented. Attention will be paid to the criteria of song selection, transformation of songs into a learning task and to particular pre-listening, while-listening and post-listening activities.
Murphey (1992) believes that any song can be useful and motivating to some extent. However, those that students already listen to and want to hear, which are mostly popular songs, will have the greatest impact on them. Often teachers do not use certain songs, such as rap or heavy metal songs, because the words are obscured by the thick instrumentation or the lyrics are offensive. Songs which are offensive should be generally avoided. Songs with meaningful lyrics but difficult to understand, can be used when teachers add some extra support to aid comprehension (Abbott, 2002).
There are no rules for selecting a song for classroom use, but there are several factors to take into consideration. They are listed below in six categories: the class, the teacher, the level of difficulty of the song and the lyrics, the curriculum, the pace and sequence of the lesson and the classroom.
- The learner: Primarily, the teacher should consider the musical interest of the students as well as their age and language level. Each group is specific and has its own musical likes and dislikes.
- The teacher: The teacher should choose those songs that appeal to him/her so that he/she can be enthusiastic about the song to pass his/her enthusiasm on to students.
 British Council Hong Kong, Multiple Intelligences and the Use of Songs in the English Classroom. [cit. 2009-01-06]. Dostupný z WWW: <http://www.britishcouncil.org/hongkong-eltnetwork-article-july06.htm>.
 RAHMAN, Maha Abdul. A.M. Qattan Foundation. Development of language through music in EFL classroom. [cit. 2008-11-05]. Dostupný z WWW: <http://www.qattanfoundation.org/pdf/1401_2.doc>.
 CROSS, Doreen. ELSA Net : Providers of English Language Services for Adults [online]. Using Songs in the ESL/EFL Class. 2008 [cit. 2008-11-05]. Dostupný z WWW:<http://www.elsanet.org/ newsletters/Using%20songs%20%20full%20article.pdf>.
Diplomarbeit, 92 Seiten