Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that
ICT-ELT is a TOOL, NOT a SOLUTION.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Music-Videos are Much More Than Just the Lyrics

I remember when I started teaching ESL around twenty years ago how much I enjoyed lessons I had prepared for using songs as a means to engage students in listening for ESL purposes.  In particular, at that time, since it was pretty "cutting-edge" due to the introduction of pcs and the word processing options we had, as teachers, literally at our finger tips, gave us the ability to make quality documents that had gap-fill activities employed as the way to go with listening comprehension.  The students loved it, the concept was born and it became ubiquitous for all language teachers.  Course book writers and publishers jumped on the band wagon, and every teacher I knew bought into the methodology.  However, now, after such a long time of no advances in the genre of Music-for-ESL-listening, it is much more difficult to get students interested in that activity.  A typical sense of overkill in the ELT-sense comes to mind.  So, how better for me, with music in mind, when my colleague and I came up with a new way to approach songs in the language classroom.

I will describe below the new approach to songs in the language classroom for you all to adopt as a quality and engaging way for your students to use.  What's more we have prepared 50 different songs which are available on our blog TO THE RIGHT.  The songs are from many different genres and touch on various thematic considerations for you to share and work with in your classrooms.  The document has been organized into themes, so it is easy for you to choose the right file to download. 
NOTE: The powerpoints work best by using Office 2010 

The first step is to choose songs that have a connection to the themes of your program.  Otherwise, it is just another song, with no real sense of purpose and learning outcomes, let alone Student UNDERSTANDINGS.  The list we have compiled, thus far, focuses on themes related from Celebrity and Fashion to Social Concerns and Bad Parenting.  However, what makes the videos so useful for us, at least, is the mini powerpoints are designed and supported with two analytical models as the basis for reflection and analysis of the themes presented: SPRE (situation, problem,repsonse,evaluation) and SCASI (setting, character, action, style, idea).  The two models are not included in each presentation of the songs.  In fact, we have tried to keep the more literary type of songs for the SCASI model, and the songs that have a story to tell use the SPRE organizational framework.  

Once you decide on the song title and video you want to use, you should have, of course, made your students acquainted with each model of organization for analytical reflection and/or response (also available in posts on our blog).  Below are two examples of very different songs for you to consider as viable choices when trying to get over your thematic message or just to initiate quality critical responses from your students, both verbally & through writing.

video
 
Before you have the students watch the video, they should predict what the song's thematic message is about, by considering the SPRE model.  

Then they watch the video and listen carefully to the song.  Next they should answer the accompanying Essential Questions in the following slide.


The second video example for you to consider is based on the SCASI model of organization.

video

Just like the first example, but this time SCASI, you get the students to think of the song title.


Then they watch the video and listen carefully to the song.  Next they should answer the accompanying Essential Questions in the following slide.


What we can see from this new(ish) activity is that we have students really engaged in the video, but also further willing to focus on the subject matter they are doing in the other activty; whether it is reading, writing or discussion subject they are already involved in.  The nice thing for students is that they think past the song and look to the lyrics and thematic meaning.

Does this mean we believe in deconstructing every song that students are ever likely to listen to (and enjoy in their free time)?  OF COURSE NOT!!  But, in a strategy designed to get students more involved and engaged in textual or visual analysis in the context of typical academic contexts, this method may go some way to get more students engaged.

We hope that you try out this type of activity, so that you can see more student engagement in your ESL/ELT classes. Enjoy the already made ppps on this blog.

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