“Daddy, play it again!” my four-year-old daughter said.
“The same song? Again?” (We’d already listened to it nine times in a row.)
Later that night, we would read the same storybook three times straight.
Young children want us to repeat songs and stories. They like to point at things, like pumpkins, and tell us, “I know what that is. It’s a pumpkin,” when they know that we know that they know what it is.
I am an American who has been teaching English in Israel for 32 years. I have found my work very challenging and rewarding as most children in Israel really strive to know English. I recently retired from the formal school system and am still working in an afternoon school program called “America English School.”
Normally, according to the ministry of education, regular classes start to acquire English as a second language in the fourth grade. However, many schools in Israel allow teachers to begin English in the second and third grade. Teachers usually teach the oral skills through games, drama, songs and visual aids. The written skills are usually taught at a later stage after the reading stages. (more…)
Matt Richelson makes some excellent points about the power of music in the EFL classroom in his recent article, “Teaching Young Learners With Songs.” I use music and movement daily with young learners in the English classroom. Let me add a few more suggestions that can assist you in using these powerful tools to teach English to your students.
Barbara was so kind to ask me to write about how to use songs with young learners. I have learned a lot from teaching English using songs, and I am happy to share what I know.
I have a background in music, and bringing music into the classroom has been very natural for me. What if you don’t have a musical background? Don’t worry! You do not have to be a great singer, or musician to use songs with kids. Just be enthusiastic!
If you are new to using songs you may think, why songs? Songs are great for many reasons. The melodies help the words stick into children’s heads. Have you ever had a song stuck in your head you couldn’t get out? The rhythm of the songs helps the children speak in a natural flow. Simply put, they are great practice! Also, many ESL and EFL songs nowadays have built in actions and activities. So when we sing “I brush my teeth”, then we can do the action while we sing. This combination of singing, and doing actions really helps stimulate the memory of the child. Oh, and it is fun! (more…)