Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson: An EFL Teaching and Learning Tribute to a Musical Genius

Michael Jackson’s Sudden Death a Shock

The sudden death of Michael Jackson has been a shock to almost everyone. Tributes and condolences to the family have poured in from around the globe from the White House to the Vatican. Few performermers have touched so many from so many walks of life and so many countries, languages and cultures. His presence will surely be missed.

His legacy though, will live on. His contributions to the field of entertainment are profound, affecting global cultures and age groups from youth to the elderly. Many English language learners remember several of his many songs. These can continue to be useful in EFL language practice at any level of language learning. Students will be especially attracted to his songs now with their increased available and accessibility. Learners worldwide can also recall seeing a concert or televised special in many cases too. Likely a number of your EFL or foreign language learners have his songs and albums on CDs.

Perhaps even you have special memories or anecdotes you can relate of one of the world’s most well-known and at times, controvertial entertainers.

Try asking your learners to talk about:

What is your favorite Michael Jackson song?

Mine are “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “ABC” from the Jackson Five’s earlier years. (See video clip below)

Which Michael Jackson album is your favorite?

Why “Bad”, of course, for me. Yes, “Thriller” is excellent, but not my favorite.

Do you have a favorite Michael Jackson music video?

For me, “Remember the Time” gets the vote. The music video “Black and White” also gets a hearty vote from me with its introduction of “image morphing” which was a new technique at that time. Sometimes I used “The Way You Make Me Feel” in classes too.

Making Practical Use of Music by Michael Jackson

Don’t pass up the chance to play a few of your learners’ favorite Michael Jackson songs in class, but don’t “veg-out” at just that. Do some of these exercise or activity types to add increased language learning and practice value to the songs:

• re-ordering activities,
• cloze exercises or whip up
• some short, quick, true-or-false exercises based on the song lyrics
• why not stage a “performance” or presentation competition?

It’s almost certain that I’ll offer my EFL classes the opportunity to incorporate one or more of Michael Jackson’s hits into a couple of language learning lessons or so. The English as a foreign language learners might also choose to:

• write an essay related to his music or his life
• try a “Concentration”-type series of class room activities
• demonstrate songs or videos as a short “performance”

Michael Jackson Will Continue to Live on in Our Hearts and Minds

Certainly, many of us will miss this great entertainer’s contributions to the industry, but he will continue to live on in our hearts, minds and ears as we continue to enjoy his many musical creations. Musical entertainment genius Michael Jackson will undoubtedly continue to live on in our hearts and minds for many years to come.

How about you? How will you incorporate the legacy of this great performer into your EFL teaching and learning scenarios?

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 135 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.

1 comment:

kary said...

thank you...I'm a teacher of English in Chile, and I'm going to use a Michael Jackson song tomorrow in my really like him nad I like him as well!