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Final points about songs

Having looked at the different types of songs and rhymes available, and the techniques we can use with them, it is important to end as we began by saying that we must always critically question and assess the songs we introduce in our classes. Before using a song in your class, think about the questions below.

 

Are the children involved?

∑ Would the children enjoy the song outside of class?

∑ Will every student be involved at some point?

∑ Can those children who find English more difficult take part without feeling frustrated?

∑ Is the song easy to understand and sing?

∑ Will the song keep the children's interest until the end?

∑ Does the song have a good melody?

Is language development integrated into the song?

∑ Can the language content be controlled and focused?

∑ Do the children practise English all the time?

∑ Are they challenged by the English?

∑ Can new vocabulary be introduced?

∑ Can new (achievable) structures be introduced into the song?

∑ Can new language be linked with old language during the song?

Does it encourage active learning?

∑ How much do you, the teacher, have to explain or demonstrate?

∑ How much do you have to do during the song?

∑ Can the children do any of this?

∑ Is any new language discovered by the children?

Remember to look very carefully at the language level of the song you are about to use. If the language is unknown and complicated, it could demotivate your learners. However, if you ensure that the language can be clearly understood through the context of the song, maybe with the aid of visuals or through actions, then there is no reason why you should not use it.

Teachers often wonder if they should explain the song in the students' mother tongue before they sing it. Generally speaking, the song should explain itself through the use of visuals or actions. If it doesn't do this, then perhaps you shouldn't be using it.

If you would like to do some further reading on songs and rhymes, as well as get some more practical ideas, please refer to Vale, D. and Feunteun, A. (1995), Teaching Children English, Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, pp.257-262.

 

Games - what and why?

This exercise will take around 30 - 40 minutes.

5.1 Games - what are they?

Children play naturally. For them, playing is a way of learning about themselves and the world around them. They learn through playing because they interact, and through this interaction they can develop social skills, life skills and language skills.

Games provide contexts, reasons and routines for playing.

Read the Games - what are they? resource below to start thinking about games in the classroom.

5.1 Games - what are they?

Children play naturally. For them, playing is a way of learning about themselves and the world around them. They learn through playing because they interact, and through this interaction they can develop social skills, life skills and language skills. Games provide contexts, reasons and routines for playing.



So, the first question is, what is a game?

 

Think of five important qualities of a game and five reasons why we would use games to teach English. When you've finished, click on the word GAMES below to see what we came up with.


Do you agree with these ideas? Here's a summary of the main points:

∑ Every game has a goal

∑ If you use a game in your class, you need to know why you are using it - you must have an aim

∑ If you use games in your class, you will probably have to prepare a variety of materials

∑ Games are both enjoyable and create a positive environment for effective learning

∑ The most successful games are those which are simple to explain, understand and play

∑ Julia Khan (1996: 142-143) describes games as "activities governed by rules, which set up clearly defined goals ... Games involve a contest ... games should lead to having fun."

 

5.2 Why games?

If young learners see English as something that has to be done, and when the class is over they are happy that they can run and play with their friends, it is likely that little learning will take place in the classroom.

So what can we do as teachers? Does there have to be any distinction between learning and fun?

Read the short text in the Why games? resource. Then add your ideas to theWhy games? wiki below.

5.2 Why games?

Games play an important role in the lives of children. Children naturally involve themselves in game-like activities at every stage of their development, although the purpose of games changes as they grow up.

Sometimes the games are about playing out fantasies, sometimes ritual, competition or luck. Children tend to see life itself in terms of games, and anything else is often thought to be something they have to rather than want to do.

If young learners see English as something that has to be done, and when the class is over they are happy that they can run and play with their friends, it is likely that little learning will take place in the classroom.

So what can we do as teachers? Does there have to be any distinction between learning and fun?

We think not. Thereís no reason why a lesson canít be all learning and all fun. If learning itself feels like a game, and if the children feel they are discovering a fascinating new world through games and activities, it is much more likely that English will play a central role in their world.

What does this mean? What it means is that games are not just for fun, nor are they simply for practising language - they are where the real learning occurs! This should be sufficient reason for using games and other similar activities in our classes.

Can you think of any other reasons why we should use them?

When you have thought of a few ideas, go to the Why games? wiki and add them.

 


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 427


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