APPROACHING SONGS DIFFERENTLY IN THE WL CLASSROOM

We all love using music in our WL instruction.  We know that students really appreciate when we try different things.  But we are so obsessed to make every second a “learning experience” that suddenly we start working with songs according to their grammatical or lexical content.  

Our students immediately understand that our goal is purely academic and while they might still enjoy the song, the experience seems a bit blurry and maybe boring.

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So, what if we bring songs that we, as regular individuals really like?  What if we bring songs that have a special meaning to us? What if we “work” with music that at some point  had a special place in our lives? Even maybe working with songs we listen to right now?

This is what I have been doing for many, many years and the results go well beyond simply focusing on grammar or learning new words.  This approach makes more sense especially when we are working with songs that have a meaningful message, with songs that might have authentic rithms.  By bringing music that we personally really like to our classrooms, everything goes more natural, we enjoy and sign along, and we have many more things to say and to establish connections with.   

It really doesn’t matter what kind of music you like, it doesn’t matter how old the songs you like are, if the students see that you really like and enjoy them, they will buy into them.

Here is an example.  Long time ago, I worked with Jon Secada´s “Otro día más sin verte”.  I liked that song because it was the song I used to listen to when while in college I was mourning a relationship with a korean girlfriend who after a year in Colombia, returned to her country.  I tell my students how sad I was and how much I cried for Yun Ah. They witnessed how I felt the song every time we would sign it in class. One day, out of nowhere a group of boys (the ones in the video) gave me a CD with the video you are about to see.  

This video wasn’t a project, it wasn´t extra credit, it was pure connection with the song and a bit of love for their teacher.  Now I don’t get sad anymore when I hear this song. A smile appears in my face while I remember my former students putting this video together.

@Copyright 2020 Diego Ojeda,  this material is intended for educational purposes and it’s free.  It is prohibited to profit from it in any way or form. For questions contact Diego Ojeda @ diego@srojeda.com

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