miércoles, 6 de diciembre de 2006

Why Do Teachers Use Music in English Language Teaching?

It is very common to observe English language teachers who use music in their classes. Thus, teachers have different strategies, methods and reasons to include music in the English language classroom, they commonly use it when they want to stimulate and motivate students.
For instance, music as Jeremy Harmer (2001:242) says, “Is a powerful stimulus for student engagement precisely because it speaks directly to our emotions while still allowing us to use our brains to analyze it and its effects if we so wish.” It also changes the atmosphere in a classroom, and prepares students for a new activity. Besides, each student reacts in a different way, but most of them like the idea of listening music when they are in the classroom. In my opinion, most of the time music makes them feel motivated and willing to learn. Actually, I know many people that have learned to speak English because they like to listen, and sing English songs. In addition, as Jim Scrivener (1998:176) suggests, “Songs are often used as a ‘filler’ activity to change the mood or pace of a lesson. They sometimes tend to get relegated to the ‘Friday afternoon’ slot as a sort of reward for the week’s hard work.” Therefore, teachers tend to reward students by bringing them song lyrics, and also when they planned activities where they have to use music. In sum, most of the time songs are viewed as part of entertainment.
Besides the implications mentioned above, song lyrics tend to deal with the most common problems that most learners pass through. According to the article “Music in ELT”, “Songs tend to deal with problems relevant to young people, and the students identify with the singers and want to understand the words” (NKJA, 2005). Most of the time, this fact reinforce students to start reading, at least English songs, and care about what they mean. Also, it is very important for teachers, to know their students because this will help them to choose the song lyrics. If the students know and like the song, it will enhearten them to participate. Furthermore, it will help students to develop a variety of language skills because songs are useful in teaching the rhythm of language. Finally, songs are used to encourage students to learn more about the target culture speech community.
In conclusion, the way English teachers use songs in their classroom will depend on the purposes each one has to use songs, and also the skills they want their students to develop. In fact, teachers use music as a resource to help teach language and culture at the same time. Therefore, teachers might want to stop viewing music just as a filler activity, and use it more as a resource to help students to learn.


Harmer, Jeremy (2001) “The Practice of English Language Teaching” Ed. Longman 3rd Edition pages 242-245

Scrivener, Jim (1998) “Learning Teaching” Ed. Macmillian pages 176-177.


NKJA (2005) “Music in ELT” retrieved January 2005 –1 from


Helgesen, Marc (2003) “How we use songs in the language classrom” ELT News from

Jarmol, Uchida Helena (2003) “Music in the English Language Classroom” ELT News from

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