The average teacher thinks that songs are just useful for having some fun in class. Some teachers use a fill-in-the-blanks activity to practice listening comprehension skills, but then they go back to the boring textbook for the grammar lesson. When you know how to create lesson plans using the Communicative Approach, songs can completely replace the textbook! In a fully integrated lesson, students go through the natural language acquisition processes as they learn the grammar point in context and are able to practice and produce the grammar point with communicative activities. In this article, I will use a full grammar lesson plan to show you how to teach English with songs.
Teaching Grammar and Integrated Skills with Songs
Songs are great for teaching or reviewing a grammar point. The listening comprehension activity can easily turn into a reading and speaking lesson. This lesson plan by an OnTESOL graduate is a great example of how you teach English with a song. Our graduate uses the song to review perfect modals and integrate the grammar lesson with listening, speaking, reading, and pronunciation.
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In the Practice Stage of the lesson, the teacher uses different grammar activities that require students to match sentences and underline where the grammar point is being used. In another activity, the students learn how ‘-ed’ verbs are pronounced and how ‘must have’ sentences are stressed. In the last part of the Practice Stage of the lesson plan, the teacher uses a reading activity for students to review the different grammatical structures and functions of the grammar point used in the song. In the Production Stage, the teacher uses a group discussion activity for students to practice their speaking skills. As you can see in the video tutorial at the bottom of this article, many songs can lead to great class discussions!
The main critique of the Communicative Approach is that teachers don’t pay attention to grammar. As you can see in the lesson plan mentioned above, our OnTESOL graduate prepared a very comprehensive grammar lesson. The students study grammatical rules in many different ways throughout the lesson and integrate sentence structure with function (meaning), pronunciation, and language skills (Listening, reading and speaking). In this lesson, the students go through the natural language acquisition processes to learn the grammar point in context instead of having to memorize structures. The Communicative Approach is very effective for teaching grammar and songs are an important component of a communicative grammar lesson.
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