How To Teach English with Music and Lyrics
Jason R. Levine is an English teacher, teacher trainer, “knowledge entertainer,” and creator of the English Workout Method. He has taught English to people of all ages and cultures, and given workshops in 14 countries over the past 18 years. Jason also trains non-native English speaker teachers, online and offline. In addition, he offers English teaching and practice tips to teachers and learners respectively.
Jason will be presenting a webinar on ‘Teaching English with Music and Lyrics’ on June 15, 2016, at 12 pm EST, 5 PM GMT and 9:30 PM GMT, in association with WizIQ. He will share his experiences of teaching English with music and lyrics and the practices he swears by. You can save your seat by clicking on the button below:
Last week, he spoke with Amanjot – Online Marketing Executive at WizIQ, on teaching language (English) with music. He talks about how he entered teaching profession and how he explored online teaching and later switched to teaching English with music.
Excerpts from the interview:
Amanjot: Jason, you have been teaching English for past 18 years now. What motivated you to choose this career? Will it be possible to share about your journey in brief?
Jason: My first job as an English teacher was with adults from Central America in Brooklyn, New York. I loved it right away, especially as I had the chance to create my own materials. I got a Masters degree in TESOL and worked at various schools in New York and New Jersey as a teacher and teacher trainer. In 2013 my family relocated to Paris. Since then I’ve been doing workshops for students and teachers in schools in Europe and teaching and training online.
Amanjot: Have you been teaching online since beginning or you recently started exploring it? How different is it from traditional instruction?
Jason: I began working informally with students and teachers in social media in 2010. This has always been the most powerful way of connecting with them. But I’ve also had wonderful experiences in my online classroom on WizIQ, where I teach a class every Sunday as part of my online English practice program, the Weekly English Workout with Fluency MC.
Teaching online is different from traditional instruction in many ways. For me, the most important one is having the ability to reach so many different types of learners around the world, many of whom can’t afford or don’t have access to traditional courses.
Amanjot: Teaching English with music is catching up fast. In fact, it is being considered as the one of the most effective ways for language teaching. How did this idea strike? And how do you select lyrics and use them to engage your students? Do you choose a particular type of music?
Jason: I’ve always used music in the classroom. But up until about eight years ago, I taught English with pop songs, not songs I had created. When I select a pop song, I carefully consider my students needs and interests: What types of music do they like? What songs in English do they already know and like? What do they like to talk about? What vocabulary and grammar structures do they most need to practice? Which songs are they most likely to enjoy (and want to repeat)?
I started writing my own material when I realized my adolescent and adult students would benefit more from songs full of the functional language they needed to practice. With pop songs it’s really hit or miss; what’s more, they can be difficult to understand. Songs in English textbooks provide easier practice with functional language; but my students find the music boring or childish (usually both).
Amanjot: Music is said to affect the psyche of a person. I believe that teachers must be very careful in selecting the lyrics. They need to ensure that their students feel positive and enjoy the session. As a successful online teacher and an expert in teaching ‘English with Music’, what advice would you give your fellow English teachers?
Jason: Nothing is more important than keeping students engaged in the classroom and motivated between lessons. We can just as easily turn students off with songs they don’t like as we can engage them with songs they do. I suggest getting started by making a list of songs with your students, songs in English that they enjoy and are familiar with. Then, look for these songs online and consider whether they contain (1) ideas and messages that your students will want to discuss and (2) grammar structures, vocabulary, and pronunciation features that will be useful for them to practice.
With the right techniques, any teacher can use songs to focus their students’ attention and increase their motivation to learn and practice English.
Amanjot: It will be great if you could share one of your live classes video or your rhymes as a reference for fellow teachers. Also, can you talk more about your upcoming webinar on “Teaching English with Music and Lyrics”? How do you think will it help fellow teachers?
Jason: Sure, you can check this video where I am giving lessons on irregular verbs.
This webinar will focus on the role music plays in English learning and how teachers can use songs and lyrics to develop their students’ communicative skills.
I’ll talk about how to select songs and plan engaging activities to meet students’ needs. I’ll also present the songs I create specially for English learners as Fluency MC.
To know more about how to teach English with music and lyrics, attend Jason’s upcoming webinar. Enroll now by clicking on ‘Save my Spot’ button.