English videos and music in EFL, ESL classrooms.


Language and culture is a pair of identical twins that are always seen together. Therefore by teaching a language we are teaching culture directly or indirectly. It is therefore not surprising that instruments of culture like music and videos comfortably feature in most TEFL teachersí» lesson plans.


a) Music:


English songs can be used for a wide variety of ESL learning and teaching activities. They can start discussions on a topic or even become the centre of debate. This is especially true of songs that develop a particular theme. Songs are also great for teaching listening. One of my favorite exercises with music is completing the blanks as students listen or listening and choosing the correct words from two words than rhyme, for example cry and try. You can teach grammar with songs in many ways. Most English songs sometimes sacrifice grammar for smooth rhyme. This makes them very good grammar teaching tools. You can ask students to find the mistakes or ask them how we would normally say it. Most songs reflect the background of the singer, why not do activities on something like varieties of modern English; or simply by comparing two songs ask students to figure out where the speaker is from and why. This is especially good for lessons that show the differences between British and American English. Of course you can teach new vocabulary with songs and students would understand them better within the context of the song. These are just a few of many ideas for using songs in ESL/EFL teaching. You can download worksheets for your classroom at www.esl-galaxy.com/music.htm


b) Videos:


Like English songs, English videos can be used for an assorted number of language teaching and learning activities. The main difference lies in the fact that you see and hear. Television is however a lazy medium, providing little challenges for the mind, by spoon-feeding the mind with sounds and sights, thereby providing little room for oneí»s imagination to thrive. So how do we make this lazy medium a useful classroom tool? Lots of ideas come to mind. How about turning of sound and asking students to create the dialogue from a scene? Or how about, getting one part of the class to watch and describe to the others? Yes! How about simply using a freeze frame technique where you watch and pause when it gets very interesting, then ask your students a number of questions about what happens next? View some worksheets on how to use videos here http://www.esl-galaxy.com/video.htm  I often use is MR. BEAN movies. It is great for prompting students to describe what they see because there are no dialogues.


  By Futonge Kisito

   Webmaster & TEFL teacher:  www.esl-galaxy.com

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Kisito has taught English in a couple of countries for over 6 years and in 2005 decided to set up his own TEFL website to share his ideas with other teachers.