Using Songs in Learning English as Foreign Language for School Students

Date:  2021-05-25 22:14:24
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The Impact of Using Songs on Developing Learning English as a Foreign Language for High School Students

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The research seeks to understand the importance of using songs in teaching English as a foreign language. The paper introduces the topic by linking the need for English language, as a global language, and the significance of using songs to teach the language. The literature review analyses data from previous research on this topic. Other parts of the proposal include the significance of the study, the research question, the limitations of the study, and the results the researcher expects to obtain at the end of the study. The tools that will be used in this research include university online catalog, university reference materials in print, academic resources available over the internet, and credible databases for online and print journal articles e.g. EBSCO and ProQuest.

IntroductionNo child is born with a language, but rather it is through the exposure to the language that children get to learn it. It is crucial for every youngster masters a home language to obtain knowledge and skills. However, knowing a home language may not be enough considering that the world is becoming a global village. People are interacting with each other from every part of the world. Therefore, it is necessary for one to learn a second language that is global. Furthermore, it will enable one to remain relevant in the global community especially in this 21st century where everyone is striving to get into the global economy. The use of songs has helped the teachers achieve their teaching goals primarily.

Many people are familiar with the adage of how music can be soothing to the soul. Indeed, music is universal in the culture of man. In other words, every culture in the world has its music. In fact, music is one of the ancient forms of communication that ancestors used not forgetting storytelling and dances. Mothers also use lullabies to soothe their babies to sleep, a practice that has been there since time immemorial. Therefore, it follows that we can use songs to teach English, especially as a foreign language. Singing provides an enjoyable and low-stress learning method with multiple studies showing the many benefits of music especially in raising the achievements of students and the retention of whatever they learn (Millington, 2011). Songs provide students with a richer learning environment by encouraging them to learn and participate, which makes their learning experience more meaningful. Moreover, they retain more cognitively, and the more they retain with understanding, the more they can apply the knowledge in real life situations or simply put, meta-cognitively (Bloodworth, 2016).

However, Bloodworth (2016) argues that teachers underutilize songs as a form of teaching English as a foreign language for many reasons. First, the apprehension about how students will react to the music particularly when adults think that music is just for fun. Second, the myriads of inhibitions and anxieties regarding music by the teachers limit this use. These rationales can deny students the many benefits of learning a language through songs. Therefore, the thrust of this research is to show how powerful songs can be in the acquisition of English as a foreign language. The attention will be on some of the prior studies that touch on the effectiveness of songs in learning.

Literature review

In this literature review, the paper concentrates on some of the current studies that pay attention to the use of songs in teaching English as a foreign language. The findings from other studies will aid in concluding whether songs play an important role in teaching students a foreign language.

Salcedo (2010) sought to understand the effect of music on text recall and involuntary mental rehearsal (musical din) when added to a foreign language. He conducted a study on students from four college-level who were beginning their Spanish classes in one large university in the southern Unites States. The study group constituted of 94 students, 33 of them were male while 61 of them were female. Their ages ranged from ages 17 to 41 and the mean age was 22 years. The researcher considered the students who were joining the college to be novice learners of the language. Students who were not beginners were not recruited to participate in the study. The researcher recorded three songs as audios in Spanish and availed a similar compact disc that recorded the lyrics of the spoken songs by native speakers. In his study, he had one group listen to the text as a song and another group listened to it in speech forms. The control group did not listen to the book either in speech or as a song. At the end of each song, the participants took a close test to determine how much words they could recall by filling in as many words as one could remember.

The results of the trial revealed that there was a significant difference between the students who listened to the speech and those who listened to the text in the form of a song. Those who listened to the song recalled better than those who listened to the speech. However, the recall rate was not very different between the two groups after two weeks. The researcher then gave the students a questionnaire to fill out on their experience after they received an explanation and fully understood the din (involuntary mental rehearsal). From their responses, the din was more for those who listened to the music compared to those who heard the speech. Therefore, this study suggests that the use of a song in the foreign language can help improve the memory of a text. From the results, it is evident that the din increases with music, which means that teachers can use music to stimulate the acquisition of language.

Rafiee, Kassaian, and Dastjerdi (2010) conducted a study to determine the effect of applying humorous song on listening comprehension of English as a Foreign Language and the consequences of the song on their immediate and delayed recall. The experimental research study was carried out on 30 female students at Iranian Institute of English Language. The students were divided into an experimental group and a control group. The students took a test in the listening exercise. From the results of the comprehension test, the experimental group performed better than the control group. However, there was no statistically significant difference was found between the result scores of immediate recall and delayed recall. Consequently, humor was found not to affect both the immediate and delayed recall. Rafiee et al. (2010) concluded that humorous songs have an effect on the language learning ability of students and do help create a healthy learning environment that is less stressing. Additionally, songs increase self-confidence and motivation to students.

Ludke, Ferreira and Overy (2014) carried out a study to find out whether singing can facilitate foreign language learning. The study involved 60 self-selecting students, with an equal number of males and females. Their ages ranged from 18 to 29 with their mean age being at 21.7 years. The researchers chose three listen and repeat learning conditions and randomly assigned the students to one of the three conditions. These learning conditions were speaking, rhythmic speaking, and singing. The students took Hungarian language tests after 15 minutes of learning, with the examination requiring them to recall and produce the spoken phrases in Hungarian. The researchers chose the Hungarian language because it was new for the native speakers. The participants who were in the singing learning condition had a superior performance after the test as compared to those in the other two learning conditions. Therefore, Ludke et al. (2014) concluded that the listen and sing method of learning can help promote verbatim memory for phrases spoken in a foreign language.

Tse (2015) sought to probe the pedagogical value of the use of songs in the tutoring of English as a foreign language from primary teachers in Malaysia. The study was carried out to determine the attitude of the teachers in the employment of songs in teaching the young learners. He selected a group of 60 primary teachers from 10 of the state schools in Gumbang and Kuantan. He served the teachers with questionnaires, to collect data on their thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives. The analysis of the views from the surveys showed that the teachers recognized that songs were a valuable tool for teaching. However, there was the problem of choosing the right songs that were interesting and enjoyable for the students. Therefore, Tse (2010) concluded that songs could assist in the acquisition of a language only if the teachers know how to use them efficiently.

From these four studies, it is evident that songs can play a great role in enhancing the learning process of a foreign language. The results of the studies reveal that songs help in easing tension among students allowing them to be more confident. Moreover, songs are easy to remember as compared to text, which helps in retaining the knowledge. However, as Tse (2010) argues, it is not just a matter of using songs. Teachers must be able to select the right songs that will have enough humor and are relevant for a classroom setup since all songs are not capable of bringing the positive results in learning. The songs provide a stress-free environment that is conducive to learning.

Significance of researchThe goal of this study is to discover how students could acquire English as a foreign language through songs. The study reports that learning English as a foreign language is not an easy task but when teachers incorporate songs into the process, learning gets easier for the students. Therefore, this research is significant to other researchers because it can help them add to their body of knowledge on how to use songs actually to help in the learning of a foreign language. Moreover, the study forms a basis for further research in the field of foreign language study is quite extensive. For the same reason, the advancement in technology and the introduction of virtual classes are changing how teachers administer lessons and tests. Therefore, it is essential for researchers to identify ways to incorporate music in online learning.

Research questionThe study strives to answer the question, what is the impact of using songs on developing learning English as a foreign language for high school students?

Research Methodology

The study will use both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Some of the qualitative methods the researcher will use include participant observations, in-depth interviews, and a questionnaire on current non-native English speakers taking English lessons at the University. The researcher will use face-to-face interviews to gather data. Similarly, the researcher will use quantitative research methods on existing materials in this topic to obtain more data crucial in making a definite conclusion and relevant recommendations. The sample for the study will be derived from students studying English as the second language. More specifically, students whose first language is Arabic will be recruited to participate in the study. A total of 80 students, 45 being male while 35 being female students, will be picked to take part in t...

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