Singing Songs in the French Classroom

Why teaching songs in a foreign language is a good way to teach that language.

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Singing songs in the French classroom is a great way to increase the fun, and value, of the learning experience. Students who are offered a diversion from boring memorization exercises feel more engaged and have more fun than those who spend all their time pouring over phrase books. Songs have several advantages over the other methods used to teach children language through memorization. While they are repetitive, they’re not boring. The challenge of learning to sing a song can also distract students from the difficulties of learning a new language. 

There are various materials that have been used in the past to add songs in the French classroom. These include folk songs, which are easy to learn and often times have basic words and phrases peppered through them that make it easy to memorize what’s being said. The disadvantage is that some of these songs are very old and that the phrases and words used may no longer be common. This is true in any language, given that folk songs tend to be passed down for generations and remain popular for their historical value rather than for being relevant to the lives of modern people. 
Songs in the French classroom can be modern. There are materials that feature them as important parts of teaching language skills. There are, for example, materials that feature entirely original music that is interwoven into a larger story. These are basically musical productions, a bit like Broadway plays, where the characters use both sung and spoken words to tell the story and to advance the plot. Materials that are made for the purpose of teaching language often times include songs that concentrate on real life, modern situations and teach the skills appropriate to navigating those situations when they’re encountered.

Having students learn French songs is a good way to keep them engaged. When students have an interest in learning the language skills being taught, not because they’re worried about passing a test, but because they simply want to learn a new song, it’s much easier to make the lessons stick. This helps them to develop skills without requiring them to spend hours being bored to tears reading over phrase books. It also builds associations that make the language fun and interesting. All language should be considered as such, as it opens up an entirely new world to anyone who takes the time to learn a new one. 

Source by Dr. Dennis Dunham

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