Abstract learning English, the teacher is the one
English is described as a global
language and currently is the most popular language amongst learners. Several
factors affect learning this language as a foreign or second language. Some of them
are connected to the learners themselves, their background, cultural values, motivation,
social class and age.
Others depends on the teachers and their
methods of learning and teaching. Although all the factors are important, in
this paper I will focus on the value of using songs and rhymes in teaching
English to young learners.
FL teaching, primary education, children, rhymes, songs
it comes to teaching and learning English, the teacher is the one who chooses
the methods of teaching. But to choose a single method, a teacher needs to
understand recent techniques and the different methods available. But the one
thing that is sure is that the lesson which gives us good time and the feeling
of enjoyment is the most successful one. This kind of lessons are more
effective than the ones with the traditional teacher-centered procedures.
According to Murphey’s definition:
“rhymes and songs are relaxing; they vary the lesson’s progress, they provide
fun and action, and above all, they encourage harmony within a group” 1(1992b,
Murphey (1992a) says that most of
English teachers use songs and rhymes in class for different teaching purposes.
According to Murphey songs stay in both, short and long memory and they are
easy way to learn and remember long portions of language.2
The use of songs and rhymes as material
is believed to help students with rhythmic patterns, sounds, stress vocabulary,
grammatical, conversational exchanges and intonation (cf. Davanellos 1999, pág.
can combine with other classroom activities like stories, dance, games, etc. but
also with some paper-based activities, such as color, picture or number
dictation. Coromina (1993, pág. 20) says that a good song can encourage
interesting discussion in class. Learners may not understand all the words, but
they can sing or act it out by themselves. 4
Regarding the listening skills, children
may become bored by listening to a same text or dialogue over and over again in
attempt to understand the meaning of words or phrases in context. But listening
to a song or a rhyme seems less monotonous because of the melody and rhythm. Also,
songs and rhymes allow children to practice a new sound and not to produce the
same level of boredom.
Moreover, they satisfy the children’s
curiosity. The children feel closer to foreign language and its culture while being
familiar with songs and rhymes in that language. They are also great method for
vocabulary practice. Most songs and rhymes for children are divided into
groups, such as animals, numbers, actions, food, body parts, etc. Some may be
combination of the two or more of these topics. Like in Alice the Camel, a number song about an animal. Then there are
action songs where children sing and mime the action as in This is the way we
brush our teeth.
Songs and rhymes are used for many
purposes and can be considered as a valuable pedagogical tool. But the greatest
benefit and value of their use in the foreign language classroom is the one
that they are fun way to learn. Naturally, children really enjoy learning and
singing songs and have fun doing activities while reciting rhymes. 5That
is the most important part of learning any foreign language and it is something
often overlooked by us. Besides, songs and rhymes improve the students’
motivation and potentially add interest to the classroom routine.
Coromina, I. S. (1993). An original
approach to the teaching of songs in the classroom. English Teaching Forum, 31
Davanellos, A. (1999). Songs. English
Teaching Professional, 13, 13-14
Conesa, I. M.; Juan Rubio A. D. (2015) The use of rhymes and songs in the
English in Primary Education. Centro
Universitario de la Defensa de San Javier
Murphey, T. (1992a). The discourse of pop
songs. TESOL Quarterly, 26, 770-774.
T. (1992b) Music and Song. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Phillips, S.
(1993). Young Learners. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
1 Murphey, T. (1992b) Music and Song. Oxford: Oxford University
Press. Phillips, S. (1993). Young Learners. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2 Murphey, T. (1992a). The discourse of pop songs. TESOL Quarterly,
3 Davanellos, A. (1999). Songs. English Teaching Professional, 13,
4 Coromina, I. S. (1993). An original approach to the teaching of
songs in the classroom. English Teaching Forum, 31 (3), 27-28.
5 García Conesa, I. M.; Juan Rubio A. D. (2015) The use of rhymes and
songs in the Teaching
of English in Primary Education. Centro Universitario de la Defensa de San