Children Enjoy Pop Songs English Language Essay

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This song has plenty of words that rhyme, so it is very helpful so that our students practice pronunciation in a relaxed way. In addition, this song transmits energy and the message of the lyrics is very positive. First of all, our students can see the video and listen to the song. Then, they will read the lyrics while at the same time they sing out the song. Our focus here is not for them to understand the song because it requires a high level of competence, what we want is that they work the song on a phonetic level. Once our students have sung the song, we will give out the lyrics and they will have to identify the rhymes such as "bag - cards"; "wind - thin - caving in"; "deep - screams - thin"; "July - shine"; "firework - worth - burst"; "space - replace"; "holds - rainbow"; among others.

In this way, our students will develop musical and linguistic intelligence as they will focus their attention on pronunciation. In addition, visual intelligence and the intrapersonal one will also be enhanced as they will feel very happy and relaxed because it is an easy activity.

c. The name rap

The name rap (Read, 2007, p. 187-188) is a special type of chant which children can easily create. This is very useful for the first day of class so that children know a little about their partners. First of all, we will indicate the rhythm of the chant with finger snaps and we will introduce ourselves. For instance, children would say: Hello, my name is Robert, I like cats. Children must remember the name and the sentence from the classmate next to them so that in the next round, instead of presenting themselves, they introduce their classmate. Children will always repeat sentences with the rhythm of the chant.

Our students will improve their musical and linguistic intelligence because they will remember structures at the same time as they sing. Furthermore, they will develop the interpersonal intelligence knowing their partners' motivations and names.

d. Head, shoulders, knees and toes

The traditional song Head, shoulders, knees and toes (n.d.) (see Appendix 5) is a very good way to introduce vocabulary or to remember it. We will start by watching the video and children will sing and touch the corresponding parts of their body. Then, we will sing and interpret the song but without watching the video. We will progressively add new verses with new vocabulary but with the same intonation and rhythm. At the end, we will sing the song altogether, trying to remember lyrics and body parts.

This song is a really good activity to develop the visual and kineasthetic intelligence. Children will activate themselves and feel very motivated to start the class.

Solomon Grundy Poem

Solomon Grundy Poem (Halliwell, 18421) (see Appendix 6) is a good song to introduce vocabulary related to days of the week and the past participle. First of all, we would see the video and listen to the song. Secondly, we choose seven children who will be assigned one day of the week each. So, while everybody is singing the song, the child who is assigned Monday will play what Solomon did that day.

At the end, we will hand out the lyrics of the song and explain past participle uses. We will develop linguistic, musical, kinaesthetic, visual, interpersonal and intrapersonal competences in this task. Moreover, linguistic contents are introduced inductively,

(that is, theory derives from practice), what makes students active participants of their learning process.

Concluding Remarks

We are living in an international society which needs to know more than one language to communicate. English is the language (after Mandarin Chinese) most widely spread in the world. For that reason, this language has turned into a lingua franca. Due to the globalization of our markets, we need to make learners able to speak English to communicate with foreign language countries.

Learning a second language also opens our minds, that is, we become interested in foreign people, their costumes and traditions, their styles of life, their gastronomy, etc. We discover that there exist different ways of living which we must respect. Songs, chants, rhymes and anthems can show students English speaking countries' features and feel more tolerant towards them.

Students' communicative competence in other languages provokes an improvement in their mother tongue because they can compare both languages looking for similitudes and differences being aware that each language has their own rules. In order to learn a language, it is better to start as early as possible because the plasticity of brain in children is very low when they reach twelve years old. When young learners come to this age they do not learn as easily and as quickly as before because they have reached the critical period (Lenneberg, 1967).

If we do not practice a language, we can forget it. For that reason, we should provide our students strategies to continue learning them. That is, we have to teach our learners to become more autonomous (Pinter, 2006). At the same time, it is a priority our pupils to develop positive attitudes towards the target language. They should know different ways to practice English such as listening to the radio, watching television, reading books, magazines and newspapers, searching information on the Internet, living in other countries, going to language exchanges (tandems), taking advantage of speaking with foreign people without being afraid of making mistakes, singing songs, among others.

Music is and has always been present in our life. Linguistics and music has always been integrated in our culture (Storr, 1992). Music is also crucial in the physiological development of human beings. Children show special abilities in the development of musical skills. They recognise pitch patterns and rhythm very easily (Campbell, 2001). In order to provide a theoretical backup to this piece of research, we have taken into account the Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner, developed in 1983.

We have used a qualitative methodology because we consider it is the best way to carry out our essay and the confirmatory method to evidence our hypothesis: teaching English through music is more enjoyable and it results in better language acquisition.

Several scholars have shown that children discern emotional states displayed in music and they improve this ability during their school years (Cunningham & Sterling, 1998; Dolgin & Adelson, 1990). Other studies have demonstrated that major modes of music make subjects feel happy and minor ones make listeners sad (Dowling, 1999). We have chosen songs, rhymes, chants… to promote children's happiness and well-being, to create a positive and pleasant atmosphere in the classroom which makes a favourable learning context.

We have chosen six intelligences from those proposed by Gardner (2011): linguistic and musical intelligence, visual/spatial and kinaesthetic intelligences and interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence, using music in classroom because are the more suitable ones for our research.

Children have developed their linguistic and musical intelligence with the use of songs because they have worked with language and with pitch and rhythm. They have also enhanced visual/spatial intelligence and kinaesthetic one in the classroom learning vocabulary through pictures and miming lyrics songs. Our learners have improved their interpersonal intelligence working in pairs and in groups and learning songs from English speaking countries. In addition, they have developed their intrapersonal intelligence as they have discovered that when they sing they experiment emotions which make them feel happy. So they have found out how to learn in a grateful way.

When presenting the activities, we have followed a logical order in the classroom: warming-up activities to activate students' previous knowledge, development activities to focus on the four skills and follow-up activities to consolidate language. For the selection of songs we have taken into account the students' age, their interests and needs, the difficulty of the lyrics and the purpose of the activity. We have used authentic songs, adapted songs, action songs, chants, nursery rhymes and anthems among others. In this way, we have covered all teaching phases in the classroom, as well as most learning styles and preferences.

Using music for the teaching of a second language is not only a great idea, but also a necessary tool because it creates a calmed and motivating environment, it develops receptive and productive skills, and it develops memory productively.

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