Teaching English through songs and games
Articol realizat de: Anca Maria Milea, English Teacher
Prof. Paul Banica Secondary School,Targoviste
We live in a world of continuous transformation. Once the needs of contemporary society get bigger, it is highly important to find the proper methods and means for the development of the quality of the learning process. In order to do that, it is valuable to use the most efficient techniques, as well as the most efficient means during the learning process, which can be vital to ensure and stimulate students’ motivation and interest at the same time, as well as the gradual evolution of the learning process and the forming of abilities and conduct, the acquisition of knowledge based on the actual needs.
I have always wondered: “How could I, as a teacher of English, make my lectures more attractive? If I used didactic games and songs during my English classes, could I get better results? Would students be more interested in learning English?”
As a teacher, I’ve seen so many students who find learning English difficult, have communication blanks, and show lack of interest. The role of the teacher is to raise the students’ appetite for learning, to give them the right motivation for it, to make activities that enhance their interest and help increase the degree of their involvement. So, I decided to introduce ludic and creative activities and songs in my lectures.
I decided to find the techniques that allow the creation and development of exchange links between the participants in the communication process, and the proposal of activities that help raise students’ interest in taking part into the lecture. While songs are one of the most enchanting and culturally rich resources that can easily be used during language classes and the most precious ones to develop pupils’ language skills, the didactic game is definitely one of the most used methods in the learning process.
The didactic game creates the right environment for active learning, stimulating at the same time children’s creativity and initiative spirit, as well as acquiring the language skills, eventually to be able to communicate in English, being an important way of academic education. This has so many advantages to take into account. Here are some of them:
- enhances communicative behaviour and develops the necessary abilities to work in groups;
- maintains attention on longer periods of time;
- breaks the rigidity of traditional teaching;
- accelerates the working rhythm;
- helps developing pupils’ observation, creativity, intelligence, motivation, and enthusiasm;
- corrects and improves pronunciation and orthography mistakes;
- stimulates the emotional process and enriches children’s emotional life to help them control their emotions;
- helps developing personalities and also creates a collaborative atmosphere;
- transforms and sets the correct ethical dimensions of the conduct.
Game stimulates pupils’ interest and curiosity, and enhances the acquisition of the great amount of knowledge in a short period of time, in a deductible way. Using the game in the learning process makes the child enjoy learning, keeping his interest in the activity that is going on. It helps prevent failures and dropping out of school and helps the teachers to get to know their students’ personalities better.
As it is about an activity loved by pupils, I have decided to integrate the didactic games into the learning process, which have as an outcome the pupils’ adaptation to the prevailing activities carried on during the English classes.
After each and every English lesson, when I used the didactic game, I managed to get to know my class of pupils as a group better. Provided that the teacher leads the game more often, he will notice his pupils’ interest in this type of activity at the end of the lesson and their desire to study the language will get higher.
Based on playing determined by games, pupils’ knowledge and their intellectual habits have the chance to be acquired in a better way.
Educational games are designed to teach students about certain subjects. They help them acquire specific skills while playing and to reinforce students’ development, such as board games, card games, video games, films, art, drama documentaries, music, language games etc. They are considered to belong to the field of edutainment, a new term related to games that has been introduced along the years.
“Edutainment” is a portmanteau word designating a form of education that is entertaining in order to keep students interested and engaged and acquire knowledge (“edu” is derived from “education” and “tainment” is kept from “entertainment”). So, in a few words, edutainment means educating as well as entertaining.
Nowadays, technology has promoted the evolution of edutainment, therefore teachers can use a lot of edutainment materials in order to compete with all media distractions for students’ time and attention, and they can actually take advantages using the new technology to make their work better.
“The first step towards understanding how computer games can transform learning and education is changing the widely shared perspective that games are “more entertainment”.
On the other hand, nothing else can be as effective as music in children’s language classes.
Music, a source of motivation, interest and enjoyment, makes it much easier for children to imitate and remember words by listening to songs.
A song or a chant can be used very effectively to teach children the sounds and rhythm of the language and to reinforce structures and vocabulary. Moreover, songs contain words and expressions of high frequency and offer repetition. (http://iteslj.org/, 1999)
Another advantage of using songs in teaching the language is that stress and intonation pattern of the spoken language can be taught through music. It is only natural for young children to be active as it is their nature to be energetic and playful. Action rhymes captivate young students and, at the same time, help teachers convert their natural energy and enthusiasm into meaningful learning experiences.
As far as the teacher’s tasks during the teaching-learning process are concerned, the teacher should choose the didactic tasks according to pupils’ age and personalities, and also to their level of the target language.
When I decided to elaborate on the topic “Teaching English through songs and games”, I made a connection with my own childhood, and so I remember some of my classmates back in school, playing into the school-yard, enjoying the game they were playing so much and singing. This way, I reached my initial question when I started to write this paper: “Could games and songs enhance the learning process?”
Students have definitely made significant progress due to the introduction of the didactic game and music during the English lectures.
So, although children can learn a language faster than adults, they do not learn through traditional language teaching methods. Through fun activities, children can learn a language better as learning becomes natural for them since activities like games and songs do not make them conscious that they are really learning a language, which makes it a lot easier and fun for them.
I.S. P. Nation and Jonathan Newton (2009). Retrieved from www.academia.edu\