English As A Second Language Education Essay

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The teaching of English as a second language is nowadays present since the beginnings of formal education. We want our students learn to communicate in a second language with accuracy and fluency. For this reason, we are basing this research process on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner in 1983. In opposition to the IQ intelligences, this author claimed that we do not only have a single intelligence, but we have seven, namely: the linguistic intelligence, the logical/mathematical intelligence, the kinaesthetic intelligence, the visual intelligence, the interpersonal intelligence, the intrapersonal intelligence and the musical one. Years later, he added the naturalistic, the existential and the spiritual forms of intelligence (1999).

1.2. Literature review

Music is crucial in the physiological development of human beings. Following Patel, "as cognitive and neural systems, music and language are closely related" (2008, p. 417). According to Trehub (2000, 2003) and Trehub and Hannon (2006), children recognise pitch patterns and rhythm very easily, and they prefer "infant-directed singing over infant-directed speech" (Patel, 2008, p. 377). Campbell (2001) found out that people who have studied music before they are seven have better neuronal interconnections than those who have not studied it. This means that language production, text comprehension and motor skills are improved.

Several scholars have shown that children discern emotional states displayed in music and they improve this ability during their school years (Pierce, 1999, p.10). Therefore, teachers are fostered to make musical creative activities to boost children happiness and well being. This idea is related to Krashen's hypothesis (1985), the so-called affective filter (the imaginary device by which input is converted into intake). If this filter does not activate, they will learn better, in a relaxed and meaningful way.

1.3. Theoretical framework

Since our classes are heterogeneous, we need to be aware that there are different learning styles. As a result, teachers have to select a methodology which fulfills students´ diversity accordingly. The teaching practice should cover all multiple intelligences to develop every single one, to make learning more significant and to depart from each person's needs: songs are particularly suitable for this since they add oral/aural input to scene. In this paper, we are going to focus on musical and linguistic intelligence, visual and kinaesthetic intelligence, and interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. We consider them the most relevant intelligences for learning a second language through music.

Children start to develop both intelligences, musical and linguistic ones since they are infants (Gardner, 2011, p.115). Singing songs, chants, nursery rhymes and anthems will promote children to increase the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) because they will listen to and sing songs, and read and create lyrics. Regarding visual perception, research shows that symbolism is important in language comprehension. When we learn a word or read a text our mind works in terms of pictures (Arnold & Fonseca, 2004). Through body movement, students will learn English focusing their attention in listening comprehension (Asher, 1977). This means that we are going to activate the visual/spatial intelligence and the kinaesthetic one in the classroom through the use of music.

Finally, people learn a second language to communicate with others for some specific purposes, to share ideas or express emotions (Arnold & Fonseca, 2004); this is related to the interpersonal intelligence. Our students will learn about Anglo-Saxon culture working in groups and listening to English songs. In addition, they will develop their intrapersonal intelligence and the competence of "learning to learn" (Royal Decree 1513/2006, p.10) in which children acquire strategies and skills to continue learning by themselves out of school.

The objectives of our study are mainly focused on creating pleasant and motivating classroom atmospheres where learners feel safe and happy to learn. We will create musical activities so that our learners improve the language skills and learn to show interest and respect towards the Anglo - Saxon culture. Furthermore, we will propose creative teaching alternatives so that our learners get to know how and when to use language appropriately. We also want to enhance autonomous learning and improve their attention and working memory.

1.4. Research hypothesis

The hypothesis we want to evidence is "teaching English through music is more enjoyable and it results in better language acquisition." We are going to use the confirmatory method using songs, rhymes, chants and anthems and observing the activities in the group to confirm the theory using music to teach English as a second language.

2. Research methodology

In order to achieve our research objectives, we are using a qualitative methodology. Sociology and Anthropology studies followed this approach in the late 1890s, but it was not until the late 1960s when the term qualitative research was coined and the 1970s-1980s when this approach was broadly advanced. Teachers used to observe in class as

an instrument of study to analyse scientifically what happened, as a result, they improved their academic teaching process (Bogdan & Biklen, 2007).

3. Research process stages: what we did and when

First of all, we identified objectives of our proposal and reviewed the literature to be aware of the current situation in the music field in relation to L2 teaching. We considered choosing Gardner as the father of our thesis matter because he was the first one to state that we have more than one intelligence: there are different learning styles and we have to try to develop all intelligences. Finally, once we checked that music is really important in Primary English teaching, we designed practical activities divided in three groups: warming-up activities or initial activities, in which new vocabulary and structures will be presented to activate students' previous knowledge; development activities, where language points will be practiced; and follow - up activities, in which main language issues will be revisited. The idea is to design a complete activity proposal, having music as the pivot idea throughout it.

4. Analysis of results

4.1. Warming up Activities

a. Old MacDonald: Our children will develop visual, musical and linguistic intelligences thanks to the traditional song Old MacDonald (n.d.). They will listen to the song while we show them animals flashcards; afterwards, they will read its score focusing on the intonation patterns and song rhythm; finally, they will learn farm animals associating the word with the sound.

b. Firework: This pop song by Katy Perri (2010) is very appropriate to develop musical and linguistic intelligences of our students since they will have to identify rhymes and pay attention to pronunciation. Furthermore, they will develop visual

intelligence by watching the video and intrapersonal one because they will be enjoying thoroughly themselves singing altogether.

c. The name rap: The name rap (Read, 2007, p. 187-188) is a special type of chant which children can easily create. They will enhance their musical and linguistic intelligence because they will have to put rhythm to their lyrics. As this exercise consists of introducing themselves saying their likes, they will also develop the interpersonal intelligence because they will know a little more about their classmates.

d. Head, shoulders, knees and toes: The traditional song Head, shoulders, knees and toes (n.d.) helps learners develop linguistic intelligence since it will help to learn or review vocabulary; visual and kinaesthetic intelligence watching the video and moving according to the lyrics; and musical intelligence by creating new verses using the same rhythm and intonation patterns from the original song.

e. Solomon Grundy Poem: Solomon Grundy Poem (Halliwell, 18421) is a suitable song to introduce the vocabulary related to days of the week and the past participle; as a result, it helps learners to improve their linguistic intelligence. Children would also watch the video and listen to the song, so they will develop visual and musical intelligence. They will perform song lyrics, will work altogether and will be participants from their learning process; therefore, they will develop kinaesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences respectively