Friday, June 27, 2008

How Can Teachers Use Music in an EFL Class and Not Lose Group Control?

It’s Not Just Teenagers Who Love Music
This is an excellent question in addition to being a somewhat “HOT” topic. It’s not just teenagers who love music either, but almost any language learner group or profile will be highly impacted by the use of music in the EFL / ESL and foreign language learning classroom. Use music with teens to lower their “Affective Filters” (Krashen-Terrell, 1984), get and hold their attention. But don’t restrict the use of music to just “sing-alongs”, lip-sync or “Karaoke” type activities.

Photo: Stephen D. Krashen

A Critical Key
One critical key here, in my opinion, is to use music in a variety of other ways with teens (and other learner profiles).

In the EFL / ESL and foreign language learning classroom teachers can use music to:

• control length of activities
• set the mood and tone of the class
• as background to the class environment
• help to calm unruly learners
• stimulate fast-paced EFL practice activities

An additional point is to exercise some discretion in the selection of music types, artists and songs to be used. Not all music forms selected by or listened to on the part of teens, for example, are suitable classroom use choices.

EFL Teachers Can Exercise More Control
Since we know that music alters the active state of the brain’s waves, EFL and other foreign language teachers can exercise more control over their EFL / ESL classrooms and learners with well-thought-out use of different types of music at different times. I went into this in much greater detail in a series of articles published on using music in the English or foreign language learning classroom.

The link to the 7-article series on using music in the EFL / ESL classroom starts at:

We’ll continue to discuss applications for the use of music in the EFL /ESL ad foreign language learning classrooms in upcoming article posts.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, prolific writer, expert author and public speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book, "If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

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