I believe it is a fairly safe assumption to say music and culture are linked. As part of my position in China I am not only teaching through the use of Canadian teaching techniques, yet also asked to introduce Canadian/western culture into the classroom. A very popular part of western culture, often greatly enjoyed by my students is music. My student’s music choices often follow along the lines of pop music and Top 40 hits, with a bit of Alternative selections. As a way to gain greater interest in learning English as well as, infuse a bit of western culture into the classroom I end each week with a song.
The songs I choose for Friday are usually ones I feel carry some form of meaning and which I believe send a positive message or encourage students to think about the message in the song. I begin by handing out the lyrics and give students time to read and write or draw what they feel the song is about. I also write down any vocabulary words from the song I feel may pose a challenge. Once they have had time to review the lyrics we discuss the song’s meaning by doing a mind map on the board where I have students share what they feel the song is about. Then we watch the music video. After the video we often discuss how what they thought the song was about compared with the video.
In doing this each week I have noticed students have become more accustomed to looking at the lyrics as more than simply words written, and more as messages and meaning. When I started Friday Songs in September I was hoping to provide students with an engaging way to learn English and have found it has become an excellent way for students to practice their reading comprehension, critical thinking, and expression of opinions and thoughts. What I find the most rewarding about Friday Songs is the large degree of class participation and excitement I receive. Students are always eager to see what the song will be and in recent weeks I have been receiving requests for songs which students personally feel carry meaning and want to share with the class.
Out of all the activities, lessons, projects, etc. I develop or assign Friday Songs has to be the easiest and least time consuming of all; and in turn could prove to be one of the most memorable and lasting activities my students take away with them. When I think of this, I am reminded of my purpose as an educator and that is to educate and inspire learning; this does not always need to be the biggest project, but can be as simple as listening to music.
Here is a list of some songs I have used:
Ms. Kolshuk's Blog
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