The Role Music in Teaching Second Language

LINGUISTICS 11

The Role Music in Teaching SecondLanguage

Abstract

Musicis partof universalculturethat, since past,has beenusedforrecreational andinformativepurposes.Asan educationaltool,musichas beenusedto teachpronunciationto infantspriorto joiningschools.Additionally, it hasbeenusedto teachalphabetsandnumeracyto pupilsin lowerclasses.Thoughsongsandmusichasforlongbeenincorporatedin teachingelementaryinformation,ithas onlybe giventherefreshing andrecreational roles,especiallyin classesteachingforeignlanguage.In thelearningprocess,musicboostsmemoryof studiessince itis storedin thepartof thebrainthat enhancesmemory.Musicenhancesvocabulariesamong learnersof newlanguages,and increasestheir vocabulariesandcreativity. Through music,learnersadoptappropriatecomprehensionandpronunciationskills, which areimportant elements of languages.Additionally, musicrelaxesandmotivatesstudents,creatingan enabling environmentformaximumacquisitionof languagecomponentssuchas grammarandsentencestructure.

Musicis a universalhumanculture,andan importanttoolforteachinglanguages,owingto its widespreadappealto students.Theuniversalityandappealof musicincreaseinterestsamong learnersto learnnewlanguages music eases thelearning processandmakes it anentertainingordeal.Additionally, incorporatingmusicinto teachinglanguagereduceslanguagebarriers,which inspiresstudentsto increasetheir participationin theprocess(DaSilva, Jacobs &amp McCafferty, 2006). Additionally, musicenhancesindependence,creativity andinclusivity in languagelearningprocesses,allowingstudentsto understandcontents of their curriculums moreamicably. In contemporaryworld,musicwasusedto passinter-tribal information,with wanderingminstrelsbringingliteratureto crowdsof peoplein villagesquares,whorepeatedthelinesto enhancememory(Norris &amp Ortega, 2006). Since past,musichas beenwidelyusedin thelearningprocess,edifyingyounglearnerson howto speakandcomprehendtheir mothertongues(Pawlak, 2011). Additionally, musichas beenwidelyusedto teachalphabets,numeracy, pronunciation,grammaras wellas diction.Its universalityhas helpedin its adoption,enhancingits usein teachingboth themothertongueandsecondorthirdlanguagein modernschoolcurriculums (Norris &amp Ortega, 2006). Thisresearchexemplifiestheuseandimportanceof incorporatingmusicin teachingsecondlanguages.

Purposeof theResearch

Until recently,theresearchon theuseof songsandmusicas pedagogical toolsin teachingforeignlanguageshas beeninfrequent.Thoughtheuseof musicin foreignlanguageclassrooms has beenvaluedforlong,ithas forlongbeenrelegatedto therecreational andentertainmentroles.Apartfrom anecdotal articlescampaigningforincorporationof songsto increaseinvolvementof studentsin foreignlanguageclasses,there werelittle-published researcheson thesubject(Pawlak, 2011). In thepast,intentionsto incorporate musicin teachingcurriculums weremetwith ridiculeandcautionary statements.Opponents of usingmusicin teachingarguedthatdespite theseeming enjoymentin classeswheremusicwasincorporatedinto teaching,studentswerelearningabsolutelynothing (Gordon,2006). Assuch,contemporarycurriculum developers statedthatmusicshould not robo muchof classtimesince itonlyservedgratificationbutnot teachingpurposes.Thisattitudeprevailedmainlydue to lackof succinctempiricalresearchon theuseandimportanceof musicin teachingsecondlanguages(Gordon, 2006). Thisresearchaimsat identifyingthevariousadvantagesof incorporatingthemusicin teachingforeignlanguages.Thestudywill assistin dispellingpreviouserroneousnotionthatdeniedmusicits rightfulplacein teachingforeignlanguages,which ledto thesubsequentreductionof musictimein foreignclassrooms. Further,theresearchwill increasetheconfidenceof incorporatingmusicin teaching,promotingits extensiveadoptabilityin foreignlanguageclasses.

LiteratureReview

Musicis a feasiblevehiclefortheacquisitionsecondlanguageto a similarextentas othernon-musical methodshencecannot be regardedas havinglittleinstructional value.Music variables suchas rhythm,phrasing, tonal imagery,pitchdiscriminationandmusicreadingform importantavenuesto learningsecondlanguages.Thesevariables are significantpredictors of speechvariables since justlike music,speechis an auraexpression (Norris&amp Ortega, 2006).Researchers arguethatsongsandmusicincreasethelearners’comprehension abilities,hencea valuabletoolin teachingforeignlanguage.Pawlak (2011) acclaimsthatmusicis effectivein teachingforeignlanguagessince itactsas a memoryaidwhileteachinggrammarandotherlanguagecontents. Accordingto DaSilva, Jacobs &amp McCafferty, (2006), musichas an aurathat helpslistenersto relaxandfocus,significantaspectsthat would actively leadto comprehensionof secondlanguageifusedin teaching.Additionally, musicdevelopsandenhancesindividuals’cognitive abilities,makingita valuabletoolin thefieldof learning,which mostlyinvolvesdevelopmentof cognitive capabilities(Pawlak, 2011). Musicgenuinely assistsindividualsto processnewinformationlearnedin newlanguagesquicklyandbetterthatothernon-music tools(DaSilva, Jacobs &amp McCafferty, 2006).

Gordon (2006) postulatedthatmusicis an importanttoolthat relaxesthebrainpriorto actualreading,allowingoptimal uptake of informationbeingpassedon. Additionally, musichelpslearnersto tapinto subconsciousresources,helpingin theacquisitionandgreaterretentionof contents of a newlanguage,suchas vocabularyandstructureof thenewlanguage.Pawlak (2011) emphasizedon theimportanceof stimulatingthewholebrainduring thelearningprocessforoptimumacquisition,and suggests thatmusicnot onlyrelaxesthebrainbutalsostimulatesitto acquirewhatthecontents beingtaught(Norris &amp Ortega, 2006).

Anthropological evidences byDaSilva, Jacobs &amp McCafferty (2006), attest thatHomo sapiens sangnon-linguisticvocalization before speaking.Additionally, childrencrib newlanguageresemblingsingingmorethan speechhenceadultsadjustto thisthrough musicalmotherliness. Pawlak (2011) attests thatsensitivityto musicstartsbefore birthhenceitformsan importanttoolin teachingchildrenabout their culturesandlanguage.In thesameaspect,music formsan apttoolforteachingforeignlanguages,since itcreatesan allurethat attractsleadersto learn newlanguages.Musicprecedesspeechamong toddlers with lullabiesandsimplenurserysongsformingmusicpatternsto wordsthat toddlers can hear,butnot yet speak(Norris &amp Ortega, 2006). Therhythmsof thesesongsare morememorablethan spokenwordsformingtheplatformforlearningfirstlanguages.In thisview,incorporatingmusicin teachingsecondlanguageshelpslearnersadopttherhythmscontainedin thesesongs,easingcomprehensionandabilityto speaksecondlanguages (Pawlak,2011). Thisearlymusic-memory bonding furtherformsthebasisof literalrepertoireandcreativity that is importantin developingdictionin thelanguagetaught(DaSilva, Jacobs &amp McCafferty, 2006).

Accordingto Norris &amp Ortega (2006), thelevel of intelligencedoesnot matter,butwhetheroneis intelligent.Norris &amp Ortega (2006) hypothesizes eight typesof intelligence,among them musicintelligenceandarguesthattheseintelligencesoperatedependently on eachother.In thisview,teachersshould useallapproachesin teachingnewlanguages,andshould not puttoomuchimportanceof one typeof intelligenceandneglecttheothers. Musiccreatesan interconnection between rhythmandspeechthrough soundsthat are usedto conveymessages.In thedevelopmental perspectiveGordon (2006) provedthatmusicappearsat allstagesof humangrowthanddevelopment,meaningthatstrangersof a newlanguagecan connectto speakersof thatlanguagethrough music,which is a universallanguage.Additionally, musicleavesa deeptracein our memories,largelybecausethemusicis relatedto effectivelessenergydemandingandunconsciousfactors(Norris &amp Ortega (2006). Theeaseat which musiccan be rememberedmakesitan importanttoolto teachforeignlanguages,which requireslearnersto rememberallcontents of thecurriculum to mastertheforeignlanguage.Accordingto Gordon (2006), rhythmsin songsandmusicenablesstudentsto retainmuchlargeramountsof information,therebyenhancingtheprocessof learningnewlanguages.Upon reachingtheears,musicalsoundsare transformedinto nerveimpulsesandtransmittedto therightandlefttemporallobesforprocessing(DaSilva, Jacobs &amp McCafferty, 2006). Theprocessedinformationis thenstoredin thepartof thebrainresponsibleformemory,emotionandlanguage.Thisshowsthereasonwhymusicis an importanttoolin teachingsecondlanguages.In addition,music,unlike traditionalteachingtoolssuchas workbooks, promoteslearnerscreativity, an importantaspectrequiredin learningnewlanguages.Furthermore,Pawlak (2011) arguesthatSongs andmusiccontainsa widevarietyof vocabularythatwhenadjusted,fitsalllevels of learning.Itis fullof expressionsandphrasesthat helplearnersto understandgrammarof a newlanguage.Assuch,teachersof foreignlanguagesshould developfascinatingandwell-built learningstructuresusingmetaphorsandfigurativelanguagesin musicto edifylearnerson grammarof thenewlanguage.

Importance of Music inteaching foreign Language

MusicandMemory

Accordingto McGarry (2012), theleftsideof thebrainis moredominantin mattersof speechthan therightsideof thebrain.In addition,researchhas provedthatlanguagedisorders’resultingfrom braindamagealmostalwaysoccurson theleftsideof thebrain.Thestrikingrelevanceof theleftsideof thebrainin understandingandcomprehendinglanguagesis remarkable(Gordon, 2006). However,despite braindamages that leadto languagedisorders,patientswith thisdisorderhavebeenknownto retaintheir musiccapabilities.In suchsituations,musicis usedto solveandenhancelearning.In thisview,tappingmusicintelligenceto teachnewlanguageswill be of tremendousimportance,helpingstudentsto masterthelanguageskills.Since musicis processedby therightpartof thebrain,itopensup opportunitiesto studentswith strongrightbrainorientation.

Accordingto Cook (2013), songsbridgesbetween theleftandtherightandlefthemispheresof thebrain,with thelefthemispherelearningthemelody,andtheright,thewords.By bridgingbetween therightandthelefthemisphereof thebrain,musiccreatesan ideallearningsituation,leadingto productivelearning(DaSilva, Jacobs &amp McCafferty, 2006). Thus,incorporatingmusicin teachingnewlanguagescreatesan enabling environmentto understandcontents, grammarandothercomponentsof thenewlanguage.Itcreatesflexiblethinkingabilityon thepartof thelearner,allowingthem explorenewwaysof expressingideasusingthenewlanguage.Usingnon-verbal skillsof therighthemispheresuchas emotionsandaction,musicpromotesabilityto imitate,which is an importantaspectof learningnewlanguages(Pawlak, 2011).

Musicrelaxesandmotivateslearnersto understandandremembernewlanguages,bridgingthegapbetween foreignandnativelanguages.Accordingto Gordon (2006), musicenhancesmemoryof thelanguagecontents, through theinterconnection between textsandmusicalcharacteristics.Musichas intrinsiccapabilitiesto accentuatedistractedcharacteristicsof textsandlinksthem stronglyto textstrings,aidingtheir remembrance.Additionally, thecomponentsof themelodyencodes grammarformingan effectiverecall cue,easingtheprocessof rememberingelementsof theforeignlanguage,suchas phonetics,grammarandstructure(DaSilva, Jacobs &amp McCafferty, 2006).

LanguageComprehension

Comprehensionis theprimarystepin learninga newlanguageis figuringout thebeginningsandendingsof wordingsusedin thenewlanguage.Furtherlanguagecomprehensioninvolvesunderstandingthemeaningsof variouswordson their ownandwithin sentencesGordon (2006). Thecomprehensionprocessis one of themostimportant,butdifficultprocessesin learninga newlanguage.Musicplaysthevitalroleof helpinglearnersimprovetheir comprehensionof newlanguages,by simplifyinglearners’abilityto differentiatewordsfrom eachother(Cook, 2013). Theallureof musicmakesita valuabletoolforteachingcomprehensionof newlanguageshenceshould be incorporatedinto curriculums teachingnewlanguagesforeasierandfastercomprehension.Additionally, musicpromoteslearnerscreativity by encouragingimaginations,which is idealforlearningnewlanguages.Often,songandmusictellsstoriesusinglyrics,which promotestheuseof personalthoughtsandideas,which is importantin learningandunderstandingnewlanguages.Additionally, musicnaturallyexposeslearnersof foreignlanguagesto culturesof thenewlanguage,promotinginteractionswith theoriginalspeakersof thelanguage.Thisinteractionenhanceslearners’comprehensionabilitiesof thenewlanguage(Gordon, 2006).

VocabularyandPronunciation

Researchby Cook (2013) has provedthatsingingandlearningincreasesvocabulariesof thelanguagein which themusicis composedin.Listeningto songscomposedin a foreignlanguageenrichesthevocabularyof thelearnermuchquicker than contemporarymethodswhereworkbooks wereused.Musicoffersdifferentwordcombinationsthat helplearnersto enrichtheir vocabulary,helpingthem learnnewwordsandlanguagestructure(McGarry, 2012). In addition,musichelpsstudentsimprovetheir pronunciation,as wellas changingaccentsto conformto thatof thenewlanguage.Rhythmsin musicmakeiteasierto articulatewordsof thenewslanguage,helpinglearnersdevelopaccuratepronunciationswithout noticeableaccents(McGarry, 2012). Assuch,musicshould be incorporatedin teachingforeignlanguages.Itassistsstudentsto improvetheir pronunciationsandimprovetheir vocabularies,which are among themostimportantaspectsof learningnewlanguage.

Conclusion

From theaforementioned, musicis an importanttoolin teachinghenceshould be incorporatedinto curriculums teachingsecondlanguages.Its universalityandhugeappealamong learnersmakesmusicone of themostappropriatetoolsforteachingsecondlanguages,since itreduceslanguagebarriers,allowingstudentsincreasetheir participationin learningforeignlanguages.Itincreasesindependence,creativity andinclusivity in thelearningprocessincreasingtherateof comprehendingnewlanguages.Incorporating musicin teachingnewlanguageshelpsin thecomprehensionprocess,by teachingstudentson beginningsandendingsof words.Further,musicgivesdifferentwordingandsentencestructures,improvingthelearners’comprehensionskills.Additionally, thevariouswordingsusedin musicplaysa vitalrolein increasingthedictionandvocabularyof learners.Musicalsohelpsin attainingappropriatepronunciationandincreaseslearners’creativity. Mostimportantly, incorporatingmusicin teachingnewlanguageenhancesmemoryof learners.Musicbridgesthegapbetween theleftandrighthemispheresof thebrainandmotivatesandrelaxesstudents,creatingan enabling environmentformaximumacquisition.Thedualprocessing of musiccontents, rhythmandtuneon thelefthemisphereandwordingson therighthemisphere,createsan ideallearningsituationforproductivelearning.

References

Cook Vivian (2013). SecondLanguage Learning and Language Teaching. London: Routledge

DaSilva, I. A. C., Jacobs, G. M.,&amp McCafferty, S. G. (2006). Cooperativelearning and second language teaching.Cambridge [u. a.: Cambridge Univ. Press

Gordon, T. (2006). Teachingyoung children a second language.Westport, Conn: Praeger Publishers.

McGarry, R. G. (2012). TeachingEnglish as a second language: Giving new learners an everydaygrammar. Jefferson,N.C: McFarland &amp Co.

Norris, J. M., &amp Ortega, L.(2006). Synthesizingresearch on language learning and teaching.Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

Pawlak, M. (2011). Extendingthe boundaries of research on second language learning and teaching.Berlin: Springer.

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