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Songs in the young learner classroom: A critical review of evidence

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Abstract

Songs have been a common feature of young learner classrooms for decades, and numerous publications describe how songs should be employed in order to improve motivation and facilitate the acquisition of various aspects of language, including vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and listening skills. However, empirical research examining the effects of songs as used in young learner classrooms remains scarce. This article reviews nine such studies in order to draw general conclusions and pedagogical implications. Findings indicate that songs may be effective at promoting vocabulary acquisition and improving classroom motivation in young learners; other aspects of language such as pronunciation, general oral proficiency, and receptive skills have received little focus in the empirical literature but the research that does exist also shows promising results. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved.

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... It is acknowledged that songs have been regarded as an integral part of mainstream second/foreign language (L2/ FL) classrooms, particularly young learner classrooms (Davis, 2017). In general, a favourable stance towards the use of songs is adopted by language teachers (Tegge, 2018). ...
... In general, a favourable stance towards the use of songs is adopted by language teachers (Tegge, 2018). Despite the language teachers' glowing recommendations accompanied by the anecdotal evidence, indicating how songs should be incorporated to enhance learner motivation and promote the development of various language skills such as vocabulary, grammar, listening and pronunciation (Davis, 2017;Tegge, 2018), there is a paucity of empirical studies investigating the L2/FL learners' perceptions regarding the use of songs in language classrooms (Tegge, 2018). Despite some research on teaching young learners English through songs (Davis 2017;Köksal, 2012;Kömür, Saraç and Şeker, 2005), research focusing on song use in real classroom settings from the adolescent or young adult learners' perspective is rather limited (Bjorklund, 2002;Edwards, 1997;Tegge, 2015Tegge, , 2018. ...
... Despite the language teachers' glowing recommendations accompanied by the anecdotal evidence, indicating how songs should be incorporated to enhance learner motivation and promote the development of various language skills such as vocabulary, grammar, listening and pronunciation (Davis, 2017;Tegge, 2018), there is a paucity of empirical studies investigating the L2/FL learners' perceptions regarding the use of songs in language classrooms (Tegge, 2018). Despite some research on teaching young learners English through songs (Davis 2017;Köksal, 2012;Kömür, Saraç and Şeker, 2005), research focusing on song use in real classroom settings from the adolescent or young adult learners' perspective is rather limited (Bjorklund, 2002;Edwards, 1997;Tegge, 2015Tegge, , 2018. In general difficulties are reported in terms of incorporating music into instructional tasks due to the timerelated concerns regarding song-based teaching material preparation as well as the lack of song-based teaching materials in EFL contexts (Ziegler, 2016). ...
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Bu çalışmada ortaokul üçüncü sınıf öğrencilerinin görsel matematik okuryazarlık algılarını belirleyen bir ölçme aracı geliştirmek, cinsiyet ve önceki dönem sonu matematik başarı düzeyi değişkenleri açısından ilgili okuryazarlık algılarını incelemektir. Tarama türünde olan araştırmanın çalışma grubunu, Güneydoğu Anadolu Bölgesinde bulunan bir ildeki ortaokullar arasından basit seçkisiz örnekleme yöntemi ile seçilmiş üç ortaokulun üçüncü sınıflarında öğrenim gören 260 (144 kız, 116 erkek) öğrenci oluşturmuştur. Ölçek geliştirme aşamasında uygulanan açımlayıcı faktör analizi neticesinde Cronbach Alfa iç tutarlık katsayısı .92 olan dört faktörlü, 14 maddeden oluşan üç dereceli Likert tipinde geçerli ve güvenilir “Görsel Matematik Okuryazarlığı Ölçeği” geliştirilmiştir. Gerçekleştirilen t-testi sonucunda ise öğrencilerin görsel matematik okuryazarlık algılarının cinsiyet ve önceki dönem sonu matematik başarı düzeyi açısından anlamlı farklılık gösterdiği bulunmuştur. Bu bulgular neticesinde çalışma yapacak araştırmacılara farklı örneklem gruplarıyla veya farklı değişkenlerle ilgili ölçeği kullanarak araştırma yapmaları önerilmiştir.
... The use of songs in L2/FL teaching has a long history, but there have been few empirical studies on the effectiveness of their use in classrooms (Davis, 2017;Tegge, 2018). Songs can be employed in classrooms for many reasons such as to motivate learners, teach vocabulary, or as prompts for speaking and writing activities (Davis, 2017;Tegge, 2018). ...
... The use of songs in L2/FL teaching has a long history, but there have been few empirical studies on the effectiveness of their use in classrooms (Davis, 2017;Tegge, 2018). Songs can be employed in classrooms for many reasons such as to motivate learners, teach vocabulary, or as prompts for speaking and writing activities (Davis, 2017;Tegge, 2018). In an international survey of teachers' views about songs in the ELT classroom, Tegge (2018) found that over 80% of the teachers used songs in their lessons and approximately 90% perceived them to be useful ELT material. ...
... Tegge's survey and a review carried out by Davis (2017) both demonstrated that many listening-to-song activities overwhelmingly focus on the meaning and vocabulary of the lyrics (as also maintained by Lem, 2001). There were some teachers who indicated that they used songs to teach pronunciation and phonology (Davis, 2017;Tegge, 2018). ...
Article
en Phonology in second/foreign (L2/FL) listening has not received much attention from scholars and teachers. This article reports on a mixed‐methods study which set out to fill this gap by exploring the effectiveness of explicit instruction in phonology and the use of songs to enhance English‐as‐a‐L2 (ESL) learners' listening abilities in Hong Kong. ESL learners (n = 92) aged 17–20 participated in a three‐month experiment. Data from pre‐, post‐listening tests and semi‐structured interviews were collated. The findings demonstrated the efficacy of L2 phonology instruction in improving learners' L2 listening. More remarkably, the positive effect was augmented when the instruction was coupled with phonological analyses of song lyrics. However, using songs alone for gap‐filling exercises (as is commonplace in L2 classrooms) was not found to be effective. Abstract ko 在第二語言/外語(L2/FL)聆聽教學中, 音韻學很少受到學者和教師的重視。本研究採用混合方法, 探索音韻學顯式教學及運用歌曲對提升香港英語作為第二語言 (ESL)學習者聆聽能力的效能。92位17至20歲的ESL學習者參加了為期三個月的實驗。研究者收集了實驗前後聆聽測驗分數及訪問資料。研究結果顯示音韻學有助提高學習者聆聽能力。更值得注意的是, 當音韻學教學與歌詞音韻分析結合時, 教學效果更有顯著提升。另一方面, 研究結果亦顯示我們在第二語言課堂常遇到的情況:單靠歌詞填空練習並未能提升學生的聆聽能力。
... Songs directly aid memory for verbal material in both adults [9,10] and children [11]. Those findings have inspired research into the efficacy of songs for foreign-or second-language vocabulary acquisition, with the benefits, in particular for vocabulary acquisition, extending to children in the foreign language classroom (for reviews: [12,13]). Musical training can also enhance general auditory encoding, which indirectly improves a range of language skills (for a review: [14]), including children's speech segmentation [15], phonological abilities [16], as well as the perception of speech prosody [17] and durational speech cues [18]. ...
... Zij zijn goede piefen geworden They have good hotshots become They have become good hotshots Figure 2. Example of score for the song that was used for target word 'bellers'. The verses had a mean phrase length of 5.71 words (range: 3-10) and 7.82 syllables (range: [4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]. All eight phrases of a verse contained the target word. ...
Article
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Children’s songs are omnipresent and highly attractive stimuli in infants’ input. Previous work suggests that infants process linguistic–phonetic information from simplified sung melodies. The present study investigated whether infants learn words from ecologically valid children’s songs. Testing 40 Dutch-learning 10-month-olds in a familiarization-then-test electroencephalography (EEG) paradigm, this study asked whether infants can segment repeated target words embedded in songs during familiarization and subsequently recognize those words in continuous speech in the test phase. To replicate previous speech work and compare segmentation across modalities, infants participated in both song and speech sessions. Results showed a positive event-related potential (ERP) familiarity effect to the final compared to the first target occurrences during both song and speech familiarization. No evidence was found for word recognition in the test phase following either song or speech. Comparisons across the stimuli of the present and a comparable previous study suggested that acoustic prominence and speech rate may have contributed to the polarity of the ERP familiarity effect and its absence in the test phase. Overall, the present study provides evidence that 10-month-old infants can segment words embedded in songs, and it raises questions about the acoustic and other factors that enable or hinder infant word segmentation from songs and speech.
... Songs have also helped preserve cultures and languages close to extinction (Okorodudu, 2014). It is perhaps not surprising that singing is frequently transferred to language teaching and language learning (Davis, 2017). ...
... The results from the receptive and productive vocabulary tests revealed that songs and TPR are compelling teaching methods and can be recommended for use in settings with young learners. Indeed, the participants' receptive and productive vocabulary knowledge was significantly improved after the intervention, which supports previous findings on young learners' vocabulary acquisition (Asher 1977;Bernal Suancha, 2013;Naeini & Shahrokhi, 2015;Hees & Nation, 2017;Davis, 2017;Nuraeni, 2019). ...
Article
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___________________________________________________________________________ Abstract Vocabulary knowledge is essential for successful language learning. However, little is known about young learners' vocabulary learning in a Thai EFL context and the teaching methods that facilitate vocabulary learning. The current study examined whether songs and total physical response (TPR) can facilitate preschoolers' vocabulary acquisition in a Thai EFL context. Seventy-two preschoolers, aged four to five, were taught 12 target words using TPR, songs, and a mix of both methods (TPR&S) in three classrooms for six weeks. A mixed-method research design was used to triangulate data collected from two tests and video recordings. The tests were administered as a pre-test and a post-test. Moreover, video recordings from hidden cameras captured the participants' interactions during the intervention. The findings revealed that singing and TPR and the mix of both methods significantly improved the participants' vocabulary acquisition, with the TPR&S method having a more positive impact on the participants' vocabulary acquisition than either singing or TPR alone. In conclusion, the current findings indicate that singing and TPR, specifically, a combination of the two, are effective methods to teach young learners English vocabulary in EFL contexts.
... Fitzpatrick et al (2018) give an almost passing mention to the value of songs in language learning in schools, briefly including one study by Davis (2017); we consider that this issue deserves greater attention., Davis (2017), in a critical review of the evidence for the uses of songs in language learning and teaching for young learners (ages 3-12), highlights the fact that teaching materials for songs rarely draw on support from empirical research, and that classroom-based studies are greatly lacking. Drawing on a Google search which identified 200 potential items, he reports the evidence from nine studies that met inclusion criteria regarding the implementation of songs in the classroom and the assessment measures used. ...
... Fitzpatrick et al (2018) give an almost passing mention to the value of songs in language learning in schools, briefly including one study by Davis (2017); we consider that this issue deserves greater attention., Davis (2017), in a critical review of the evidence for the uses of songs in language learning and teaching for young learners (ages 3-12), highlights the fact that teaching materials for songs rarely draw on support from empirical research, and that classroom-based studies are greatly lacking. Drawing on a Google search which identified 200 potential items, he reports the evidence from nine studies that met inclusion criteria regarding the implementation of songs in the classroom and the assessment measures used. ...
Technical Report
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) commissioned this Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) with a view to understanding what is known from the research literature concerning learning a foreign language (FL) and its impact on students’ wider academic outcomes. The key questions addressed examine: i) the research identifying what approaches to teaching FLs are being used and what variables impact on the effectiveness of these approaches; ii) the research which has examined the influence of learning a FL (or knowing another language) on other aspects of attainment; and iii) the impact of using a non-native language as the Medium of Instruction (MoI) on language learning and academic attainment. To address these questions, this REA first identified relevant extant synthesis literature (systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses) which we then updated by locating and reviewing more recent research that adopted either a Randomised Controlled Design (RCT) or a Quasi-Experimental Design (QED) as these research designs enable the determination of underlying causal relationships between variables. The review questions posed in this REA are fundamental to our understanding of Language in Education policies and attainment. The research discussed in this report will lead to a greater understanding of the key findings in the literature, together with the trustworthiness of these findings, and will in turn enable strategic decision making regarding future research programmes, funding for research, and policy making.
... Young children are drawn into songs due to the songs' captivating melodies and rhythms and catchy lyrics (Ilari 2015(Ilari , 2018Marsh and Young 2016). These positive features make songs a standard material in second language learning (Davis 2017;Engh 2013;Fonseca-Mora 2016). Furthermore, there is mounting evidence for musical training (Benz et al. 2016;Strait and Kraus 2011) and musical play (Linnavalli et al. 2018) to support auditory perception, thereby indirectly improving a range of language skills (Cohrdes et al. 2016;Elmer and Jäncke 2018). ...
... Songs are a natural context to teach novel vocabulary (Davis 2017;Engh 2013;Fonseca-Mora 2016), yet they are less ideal to acquire the meaning of a word (Schön et al. 2008). Instead, songs -just like poetry -allow for implicit acquisition and retention of the acoustic structure of a foreign language (Tillmann and Dowling 2007). ...
Article
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Children’s songs are a great source for linguistic learning. Here we explore whether children can acquire novel words in a second language by playing a game featuring children’s songs in a playhouse. The playhouse is designed by the Noplica foundation ( www.noplica.nl ) to advance language learning through unsupervised play. We present data from three experiments that serve to scientifically prove the functionality of one game of the playhouse: the Energy Center. For this game, children move three hand-bikes mounted on a panel within the playhouse. Once the children cycle, a song starts playing that is accompanied by musical instruments. In our experiments, children executed a picture selection task to evaluate whether they acquired new vocabulary from the songs presented during cycling. Two of our experiments were run in the field, one at a Dutch and one at an Indian preschool. The third experiment features data from a more controlled laboratory setting. Our results partly confirm that the Energy Center is a successful means to support vocabulary acquisition in a second language. More research with larger sample sizes and longer access to the Energy Center is needed to evaluate the overall functionality of the game. Based on informal observations at our test sites, however, we are certain that children do pick up linguistic content from the songs during play, as many of the children repeat words and phrases from the songs they heard. We will pick up upon these promising observations in future studies.
... Literature reveals that using familiar melodies in kindergarten learners is scarce. A scholar [20] believed that although using songs are common in young learners" classrooms, the practices of using songs received little to no empirical studies. In consonance, more researches are needed to enrich this area to provide empirical evidence among kindergarten teachers. ...
... When young learners are familiar with the rhythm or melody, it can facilitate recall of the target words [2], [3]. Furthermore, this study confirms the findings of [20], [24], [25] which suggest that singing words promotes cognitive ability and could develop the vocabulary of kindergarten learners. Intervention programs, i.e., familiar melodies in kindergarten learners may have benefits [14], e.g., helps students to "concentrate and connect with their inner self, stimulating creative processes, eliminate distracting sounds from in or outside the classroom, and foster a relaxed but motivating and productive classroom atmosphere" and can eventually lead to the "development of children"s receptive knowledge of vocabulary" [27]. ...
Article
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Studies show the role of songs in enhancing brain development. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of familiar melodies in the vocabulary development of the kindergarten learners. Using a two-group pretest-posttest design, the experimental group (N=25) was taught using familiar melodies and the control group (N=25) was taught using conventional method. The results showed that the experimental group had significant improvement in their vocabulary performance. The study provides evidence that songs with familiar melodies are effective in developing the vocabulary of kindergarten learners.
... Similarly, on assessing the acquisition of vocabulary by monolingual preschoolers through exposure to either stories or songs, Joyce (2011) found no differences between both presentation modes. This suggests that songs might be just as effective as spoken texts (Davis, 2017). However, in a study with French-speaking EFL learners aged between 3 and 5 years old, Le sniewska and Pichette (2014) found a significant advantage for stories over songs in promoting receptive vocabulary acquisition. ...
... Although there is some research on songs for young learners (Davis 2017), research on song use specifically in L2 teaching is limited, especially in realistic classroom settings and with a focus on adolescent or adult learners (see Tegge 2015). In addition, few studies have investigated the actual use of songs in language teaching from the perspective of teachers of either young or adult learners. ...
Article
Teachers frequently recommend pop songs on websites and in experiencebased articles to foster L2 acquisition. Such a positive stance contrasts with a scarcity of musical activities in published materials for adult learners and the small number of empirical studies investigating the use and usefulness of songs in L2 teaching. Consequently, pedagogical choices and their implementation depend mainly on the course instructor. This article reports on the findings of an international survey exploring teachers' beliefs about and teaching practices involving songs in the classroom. The findings reveal that informants often use songs as part of a purposeful and diverse teaching unit and based on reasoning that frequently reflects findings in cognitive-psychological research. However, song use can be impeded by a lack of official materials and support from other stakeholders. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved.
... Songs and music have long been a popular instructional strategy for young L2/FL learners as well as young L1 learners. It is often believed that songs and music motivate children to learn the target language, and that the rhythmic and structural properties of songs and music assist children's lexical memory (Davis, 2017). Despite the popularity of songs and music in young learners' language education, however, how and why songs and music promote children's L2/FL vocabulary learning is not totally clear either theoretically and empirically. ...
Article
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While vocabulary knowledge is considered a foundational element for young learners of a second or foreign language (L2/FL), pedagogically useful information on this topic is not easily accessible for practitioners. This is in part due to the fact that the relevant information is scattered across multiple fields, including first-language acquisition, child development, and education. The aim of this paper is to synthesize recent knowledge from the related fields and to provide theoretically sound and evidence-based information that is useful for teaching vocabulary to young learners of L2/FL. I identify four major recommendations for vocabulary instruction: (a) ensure frequent and repeated exposure to the target words (as well as nontarget words); (b) provide explicit word definitions and meanings in context; (c) create opportunities for discussions and interactions around the words in question; and (d) use multimodal approaches to teach vocabulary. I also suggest future research directions, with the goal of finding effective approaches that teachers can use to improve their vocabulary instruction while meeting the specific needs of their young L2/FL students.
... Reports, based on linguistic data, on how FL learning can be facilitated by the use of verbal auditory resources involved listening comprehension tasks (Brown, Waring, & Donkaewbua, 2008), sound combined with subtitles or captions (Bisson, Van Heuven, Conklin, & Tunney, 2015), songs (Davis, 2017), podcasting (Ducate & Lomicka, 2009), and definitions in audio format (Yeh & Wang, 2003). Studies on pronunciation (Pennington, 1999) mainly focused on the effectiveness of phonetic instruction. ...
Preprint
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Auditory resources can make learning more effective for a diverse array of learners. While some interest has been expressed in exploring the impact of verbal auditory resources (e.g., speech or word pronunciation) on learning, few studies have been conducted on the role of nonverbal auditory resources (e.g., sound effects or instrumental background music). This quantitative study examined the impact of verbal and nonverbal auditory resources via a multimedia presentation for explicit foreign language (FL) vocabulary learning. This within-subjects, quantitative study exposed 216 Polish native speakers to new, counterbalanced English words. We compared the effectiveness of four learning conditions in which words were equipped with verbal and/or nonverbal auditory resources: (1) pronunciation, (2) sound effects, (3) pronunciation plus sound effects, or (4) no audio (control condition). A one-way repeated analysis of variance revealed that vocabulary with nonverbal auditory resources (i.e., sound effects) was associated with significantly higher scores compared with vocabulary with no audio. Vocabulary with verbal auditory resources (i.e., pronunciation) alone or with the combination of verbal and nonverbal auditory resources (i.e., pronunciation plus sound effects) showed no 2 significant differences from the condition with no audio. Both immediate and seven-day delayed posttests confirmed the positive learning impact of sound effects. Highlights-Nonverbal auditory resources (sound effects) are associated with significantly higher scores compared with vocabulary with no audio;-Vocabulary presented with verbal auditory resources (pronunciation) show no significant differences from the condition with no audio;-Vocabulary presented with the combination of verbal auditory resources (pronunciation) and nonverbal auditory resources (sound effects) show no significant differences from the condition with no audio.
... Improved counting learning outcome is supported by a sense of enthusiasm [13] [14] of students and teachers in learning together that is shown in the use of songs, playing and giving rewards to students. Songs and games can give a feeling of joy to start a lesson [15], especially for slow learner students can provide motivation and enthusiasm for learning [16]. Giving rewards as a form of appreciation to students for the effort that has been done to achieve maximum learning outcomes [17], in accordance with the characteristics, weaknesses, and strengths possessed by students. ...
Article
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The purpose of this research is to explore the use of Jarimatika counting method (JCM) in a mathematics lesson. The research method used is a case study involving five (5) slow learner students and one mathematics teacher. Data were collected using interviews, observations, field notes and written test results. Data analysis using qualitative analysis data model consisting of 3 stages, namely (1) thematic analysis of all participant (2) within-participant thematic analysis (3) cross-participant analysis. The results showed that the counting learning outcome, as many as four students had exceeded the score of mastery learning, while 1 student has not exceeded the mastery learning score. The conclusion of the research can be stated that JCM can improve student learning outcomes, slow learner. Improved learning outcomes due to the enthusiasm of teachers and students, curiosity and easy understanding of the use of JCM in counting learning.
... Child songs are a great means for language learning (Davis, 2017). A number of studies show a positive effect of using child songs within early language education (e.g. ...
Chapter
The research literature on the professional development of educators and generalist teachers emphasises the need to improve their knowledge and skills in music, especially on the song leading capacity. There is consensus that generalist teachers and educators should have basic music knowledge and skills and should have gained con dence in their music teaching. Singing is the earliest and elementary musical expression. Its sensorimotor nature involves the entire person – body and mind –, and does not require any material resources. In this article, we provide theoretical assumptions that guide our research on the song leading capacity. First, we embed this topic into a cultural and educational framework. Second, we theorize on song singing and its role in education. Our third and main part builds on the previous considerations and elaborates levels of de ning features of the song leading capacity. We assume that cultural achievements – such as song singing – are transmitted between generations, and hence, we nd informal and formal practices for teaching and learning. We de ne the song leading capacity as a compound of skills, strategies, and knowledge of which most are intuitively manifested and automatized through in-situ acts of transmitting songs to children by using signs (vocal sounds, eye contact, gestures, movements, notation, language, visualization, etc.) while adhering to conventions. This de nition requires the explication of axioms, assumptions, and normative systems in order to reconstruct song leading processes. We study longitudinally how pre-service teachers learn to improve their song leading capacity during their three years lasting training, and we study experienced teachers’ song leading. The present contribution contains mainly our theoretical considerations. In related papers in this volume, they are more explicitly combined with methodological and empirical issues, and illustrated with a case study of a pre-service teacher’s song leading. Keywords Song leading, vocal learning, professional development, music education
... Child songs are a great means for language learning (Davis, 2017). A number of studies show a positive effect of using child songs within early language education (e.g. ...
Conference Paper
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Research with pre-service generalist on their developing professional conduct needs to identify the resources or strengths as well as the weaknesses or shortcomings. Pre-service teachers differ widely in their song leading capacity. Hence, we trace their individual developmental pathways to gain a broad view on the phenomena. In this contribution, we report on our first phase of our current research on this topic. The theoretical background is separately presented, and here, we aim at concretizing the connections to the methodology and to give insights into the phenomena. We filmed seventeen pre-service students on the task of teaching a new song to a group of children between four and eight years of age. Immediately afterwards, we jointly watch the film and interview each of the students. We ask the students to carry out the same task three times-every year-during their training in order to allow reconstructing their individual development longitudinally. In this presentation we describe our methods to analyse the complexity of the song leading event in connection with the theoretical statements. First, we start by portraying and discussing similar research recently published by Liao and Campbell (2014, 2016). Second, we outline our strategies to gain an overview of the most relevant sub-events of the song leading process of our novice teacher students. They are based on the theoretical analysis of the song leading acts that we postulate to consist mainly of demonstrating the whole target song or parts of it, of verbal and nonverbal instructions and demands – inclusive feedback –, and last but not least, of initiating and closing the event. Third, we characterize the situation of novice pre- service students’ first formal attempts to teach a new song to a group of children and how they cope with this new challenge. Finally, we give an overview of the main problems of the pre-service teachers, and we present individual strategies to cope with the unexpected and with the increased self-attention and self-confrontation. These are innovative moments that prepare steps towards improvements. The subsequent presentation illustrates some of these coping strategies by a case study. Keywords pre-service teachers, song leadeing, process analysis, graphic representation, self-confrontation
... Child songs are a great means for language learning (Davis, 2017). A number of studies show a positive effect of using child songs within early language education (e.g. ...
... In a recent narrative review, Engh (2013) argues for the benefit of music in language teaching by drawing on research in fields of cognitive science, anthropology, sociolinguistics, and L1 and L2 acquisition. Singing, in particular, is assumed to be beneficial for improving vocabulary recall and motivation in the language classroom, as another narrative review suggests (Davis, 2017). Both reviews, however, look at very heterogeneous studies, and robust empirical evidence to corroborate the usefulness of singing in the language classroom is still scarce. ...
Article
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Singing has been advocated as an efficient supplementary strategy in language teaching, but little is known about its effect on grammar learning. We conducted an intervention study (five lessons) with primary EFL learners (N = 57, mean age = 8.67, SD = 0.60) who were taught new vocabulary and grammar through either singing or speaking lyrics. The control group had new vocabulary introduced during regular lessons. Language gains were assessed through pre-, post-, and follow-up tests; affect was measured after each lesson. Students in the singing group showed similar vocabulary gains to students in the control group and larger gains than students in the speaking group. Importantly, singing students outperformed both groups on spelling and grammar learning. Positive affect was similar across intervention groups, but only the singing group showed significantly enhanced positive affect compared to the control group. Overall, results indicate a potential benefit of singing for grammar learning.
... Yet, so far, research into the role of poetic oral language play in infants' acquisition of their native language is sparse. This is in stark contrast with second language teaching, where songs and spoken nursery rhymes are common and extensively studied with respect to their role in vocabulary acquisition (Bebout & Belke, 2017;Cook, 1997;Davis, 2017;Engh, 2013;Ma, Fiveash, Margulis, Behrend, & Thompson, 2020). ...
Article
en The provision of instruction in English as a foreign language (EFL) is constantly being extended to include ever younger learners. As one of the challenges for pre‐primary EFL instruction is the delivery of a sufficient amount of appropriate input, the main aim of this article is to investigate one potential source of such input, namely an animated television series, in terms of its linguistic features and its suitability for use in pre‐primary instruction. More specifically, the article examines a corpus of 88 episode transcripts of the Peppa Pig series. It analyses the extent to which the data contain linguistic features which can also be found in another corpus of spoken English. Following the analysis, recommendations for integrating the series into pre‐primary English instruction are presented. Abstract pl Nauczaniem języka angielskiego jako obcego obejmowane są coraz młodsze dzieci. Ponieważ jednym z wyzwań w nauczaniu przedszkolnym jest zapewnienie uczniom kontaktu z językiem angielskim w odpowiednim wymiarze, głównym celem tego artykułu jest zbadanie jednego potencjalnego źródła takiego kontaktu, to znaczy animowanego serialu telewizyjnego. Badaniu pod względem cech językowych oraz przydatności w nauczaniu na tym poziomie poddany został korpus składający się z transkryptów 88 odcinków serialu Świnka Peppa. Badanie analizuje zakres w jakim dane z korpusu zawierają cechy językowe, które są również obecne w innym korpusie mówionej angielszczyzny. Po analizie przedstawione są sugestie odnośnie sposobu włączenia serialu w nauczanie języka angielskiego jako obcego na poziomie przedszkolnym.
Article
This action research study aimed to improve phonological awareness of young learners in Turkish EFL context. In total, there were 56 students from the 5th, 6th, and 7th grades at a secondary state school. The students’ phonological awareness levels were measured via the Phonological Awareness Skills Test (P.A.S.T.) in pre-test, immediate post-test and delayed post-test design. Their scores were analysed through statistical procedures. When the mean scores of the pre-test, immediate post-test and delayed post-test were compared, it was found out that the scores in the immediate post-test and delayed post-test increased. A non-parametric Friedman test of differences among repeated measures was conducted and rendered a significant Chi-square value. Thus, it was revealed that there was a statistically significant difference among the P.A.S.T. scores of the participants measured before the in-class activities, after the in-class activities, and after a six-week follow-up. The findings displayed the importance of employing various activities to improve the phonological awareness of young learners. Educational implications are also discussed.
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There is an increasingly pressing demand for improving the quality of teaching and learning English in Vietnam to meet the needs and interests of learners in the global integration. Research into vocabulary instruction through songs has indicated its positive effects on young learners’ vocabulary gains and language learning, including English as a foreign or second language. However, little research focuses on the use of songs perceived by teachers in vocabulary instruction to young learners within the teaching and context in Vietnam where English is taught as a foreign language. This paper therefore considers teachers’ perceptions about this instructional delivery at a foreign language center in the Mekong Delta. A descriptive study was conducted with seventy-five teachers from an English language center in the Mekong Delta. Data on teachers’ perceptions about using songs to teach young learners’ vocabulary were collected through the questionnaire and follow-up semi-structured interviews as part of a wider study over fifteen-week semester time. The findings indicate that teachers had positive perceptions about songs used in vocabulary instruction for young learners. Also, the findings provide teachers with insightful views of the effectiveness of implementing songs in promoting young learners’ vocabulary and serve as a useful resource for teachers and practitioners by suggesting how to use songs to facilitate young learners’ vocabulary. The paper concludes by giving pedagogical implications for further research into seeking alternative ways to maximize young learners’ vocabulary learning.
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We report on an action research project aimed at developing oral communication in first-graders, using songs as a strategy for young learners to use and enjoy English. It was developed at a Colombian public school over three months. The teacher-researchers attempted to encourage students using simple and amusing songs to help them learn new vocabulary in English and develop oral skills from the very moment they began their literacy process. In this article, we attempt to share our findings obtained from data collected through direct observation, field notes, video recordings, and interviews that show the process followed by very young learners to acquire vocabulary by singing.
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Research in second language acquisition has paid little attention to preliterate children learning a language which is absent from their environment outside the language class. This study examines the acquisition of English words by 24 French-speaking children aged 35-59 months, who were introduced to 57 words, embedded in stories and songs. Four stories and four songs were randomly spread across four consecutive weekly workshops consisting of play-based pedagogical activities. The impact of the input source, number of encounters with each lexical item, animacy as a feature of the lexical items, and first language (L1) lexicon size was examined. Recall of target words was assessed through the selection between four images after hearing the word, and L1 lexicon was assessed through the Peabody test. Results show significantly higher recall for animate concepts, while no difference in recall was found in relation to input source (words in songs vs. stories) or L1 lexicon size. Results also stress the need for a possibly higher number of encounters than that normally found for adults in order to achieve significant recall.
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Despite being something of a ‘Cinderella’ area of study, research into and informed discussion of teaching young learners is on the increase, perhaps mirroring the increasing numbers of children learning English globally in primary schools. This introductory article reviews key themes and issues in the teaching of English to young learners, and explains how the articles in this Special Issue connect to and develop them. It also points forward to some of the areas we expect to be of interest to researchers and practitioners in the years to come.
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The purpose of this study is to find out whether children learning English by music can improve their ability in segmental and suprasegmental pronunciation or not. In this regard, three hypotheses were proposed. A total of 30 female elementary students with the age between 9 to 12 years old were chosen. They were learning English in a private English school in Isfahan. According to the placement test of the institute, all of them were in the beginner level of pronunciation. They were assigned to two groups, that is, control group and experimental group. The selected material for both groups was Song Time book. The book was taught to the experimental group with music. The students listened to songs with music, repeated, and finally memorized them. Regarding the control group, the teacher read the songs and the students repeated after her and tried to memorize them. The results of comparing the pretest and the posttest showed that music had a better effect on pronunciation and intonation and stress pattern recognition; that is, the students in the experimental group had a better performance in these areas than the control group. Therefore, the three proposed hypotheses were safely rejected, and it was concluded that using music can push students to learn suprasegmentals better. The study has implication for teachers as well as material developers to include music in the teaching process.
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Notes how 80 students who spoke Spanish at home were randomly assigned one of four teachers, two who used a great deal of music in their classrooms while the other two did not. Suggests that music had a positive effect on oral language and reading scores. (SG)
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The present research addresses whether music training acts as a mediator of the recall of spoken and sung lyrics and whether presentation rate is the essential variable, rather than the inclusion of melody. In Experiment 1, 78 undergraduates, half with music training and half without, heard spoken or sung lyrics. Recall for sung lyrics was superior to that for spoken lyrics for both groups. In Experiments 2 and 3, presentation rate was manipulated so that the durations of the spoken and the sung materials were equal. With presentation rate equated, there was no advantage for sung over spoken lyrics. In all the experiments, those participants with music training outperformed those without training in all the conditions. The results suggest that music training leads to enhanced memory for verbal material. Previous findings of melody's aiding text recall may be attributed to presentation rate.
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This paper reports on an intervention study with young Polish beginners (mean age: 8 years, 3 months) learning English at school. It seeks to identify whether exposure to rhythmic input improves knowledge of word order and function words. The ‘prosodic bootstrapping hypothesis’, relevant in developmental psycholinguistics, provided the theoretical framework for the study. Eighty-seven children were randomly assigned to a treatment group exposed to rhythm-salient input in the form of nursery rhymes, a comparison group exposed to prose input, or a control group with no extra input. Results established that prosody can be an important factor in second language acquisition, as in first language acquisition. Children in the treatment group showed improvement in metalinguistic knowledge of English word order but not of function words. This has implications for teaching methods and classroom materials.
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This paper reports an empirical study that examined the widespread practice of using songs in language teaching for young learners. The study may represent the first methodologically rigorous assessment of vocabulary acquisition through songs as used in language teaching. Over a seven-week period including fifteen 40-minute classes, three groups of students from two private kindergartens in Beijing were taught five short English phrases of 4-8 words through each of three conditions (songs, choral repetition, control) in a within-subject repeated measures design. Vocabulary acquisition was measured by the number of meaningful morphemes produced by the students in a picture description task administered before and after the teaching period. Results indicated significant acquisition for items learned through songs and choral repetition, but not for control items. The implication is that songs may indeed contain ünportant pedagogical value.
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The use of music and song in the English language-learning classroom is not new. While many teachers intuitively feel that music is beneficial in teaching English language, there is sometimes a lack of the theoretical underpinnings that support such a choice. There are examples in the literature to argue the strong relationship between music and language that are substantiated by research in the fields of cognitive science, anthropology, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, First Language Acquisition (FLA) and Second Language Acquisition (SLA).
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This article looks at the effects of a teaching sequence of song-based activities on the L2 vocabulary acquisition of a group of five-year-old Spanish child EFL learners. Twenty-five preschool children received three 30-minute lessons organized around the presentation and practice of a well-known children's song. Vocabulary picture tests were administered to each child immediately before and after the teaching sessions, followed by a delayed post-test five weeks later. The findings of this small piece of research seem to provide some evidence to show that teaching new language through a song can lead to the development of children's receptive knowledge of vocabulary. However, exposure to the song input was insufficient to develop productive knowledge in the majority of the children. Some implications for learning English in preschool are discussed. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press; All rights reserved.
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In Taiwan, English was only officially taught at the secondary and tertiary levels before 2001. Since 2001, English courses have been formally incorporated into the curriculum in primary schools. Research on teaching and assessing English in primary school education is relatively new compared with research on other levels of education in Taiwan. The present study investigated the degree to which games, songs, and stories helped increase primary school pupils’ English vocabulary size and encouraged learning in an intensive English course. It also explored how different test techniques influenced pupils’ performance on a vocabulary test. Seventy-two primary school pupils participated in the study. The results showed that games, songs, and stories had a positive effect on learning and increasing the pupils’ English vocabulary. In the vocabulary test, the pupils in higher grades outperformed those in lower grades and performed differently in terms of test techniques. https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/RDRUSQYNYCU2RGDH5FWD/full?target=10.1080/03004279.2012.680899
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The Expressive Language and Music Project (ELM) was initiated at the National Institute of Education in 1996. Its primary aim was to develop an integrated language and music program for preschool children in order to enhance their oral language competency in English. Twelve kindergarten children attended weekly sessions on campus, for a year, where they participated in a wide variety of language arts and musical activities (based on the Orff and Kodaly approaches to the teaching of music). The natural communicative setting and the creative use of resources and these activities, facilitated the children's task of acquiring English. At the end of the year all the children involved had made noticeable gains in language, music and social skills.
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A study investigated the effectiveness of music and use of story illustrations on the English vocabulary acquisition of children. Subjects were 48 second-graders of limited English proficiency, divided into four groups. One group heard a story in its sung version, and another heard the oral version only. A third group heard the music and simultaneously viewed pictures of target vocabulary words. The fourth group heard the oral version and viewed the pictures. Results of pre- and posttests indicate no statistically significant differences between groups having music and not having music, between having illustrations and not having them, or for the interaction of the two variables. However, descriptive differences were found. Vocabulary gain scores were consistently higher for the groups in which either music or illustrations were used, and highest for the group in which both were used. Implications for the use of music in the second language classroom are discussed, and further research is recommended. A 40-item bibliography is included. (MSE)