Everybody loves a good song but have you really thought about how much your students could benefit from using the contents of the song for various linguistic purposes? Below are just a few examples in which you might want to consider using songs in your classroom in terms of their resourcefulness and their overall educational benefit;
Reading Skills – 1. gap-fill reading activity 2. jigsaw reading activity (both as pre-listening activities) 3. Comprehension-style questions about the lyrics (post-listening activity).
Listening Skills – 1. Dictagloss activity (perhaps focusing on key words) 2. Chain dictation (in teams) – both pre-listening activities 3. Gap-fill listening (to the song).
Writing Skills – 1. Creative lyrics writing/poetry skills – (extend the song or adapt it as a writing exercise). 2. Get students to write a summary about the song or to write a personal appraisal of the song. 3. Set an essay based on the theme or the message of a particular song.
Pronunciation Skills – 1. choral repetiton of words/sentences for better pronunciation. 2. focus on word/sentence stress. 3. Get students to clap to the rhythm of the song whilst singing to understand the rhythm of the language.
Speaking Skills – 1. Discuss the topics raised in the song. 2. Adapt another speaking exercise to suit your needs based on the song. You might like to consider the following; role-play, debate, dialogue, monologue.
Grammar Skills – 1. Highlight key grammar areas from the song which may benefit your students.
Vocabulary Skills – 1. Focus on key vocabulary from the song. 2/. Create a competitive vocabulary exercise to find the meaning of words.
Other Skills – Listening to songs brings about other skills such as anticipation skills, gist-listening skills, etc.
Students never tire of listening to and singing along to good songs but what can make them pedagogically-important is what you and your students can extract from them in terms of resources. Songs don’t have to be activities whch you might use at the end of the lesson – they could be made the centrepiece for a lesson if you are confident that they will allow your students to achieve their learning outcomes.
I strongly recommend using http://www.lyricstraining.com as a website for song-related activities. Students can switch to choice mode or write mode depending on the level, which makes it easier for all levels of students – Elemenatary to Advanced. On completion, there is also a karaoke version which I am sure would go down a treat!