English songs are an effective learning tool

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image: Examining the influence of English songs on L2 English lexical learning
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Credit: Pusan ​​National University

Music is often considered a universal language because it crosses language barriers and easily connects people around the world. In fact, songs are commonly used in foreign language classrooms as a way to expose students to authentic content in the language being taught. Many educators swear by the memorization and motivational qualities of English songs, and evidence also suggests that English songs provide relevant, meaningful and contextualized content for students, and help them relax and unwind. Since the language used in these songs is understandable and conversational, it becomes easier to grasp. Also, students tend to listen to English songs repeatedly, which helps them learn vocabulary faster.

However, a limitation of the existing research is that it is scattered across different publications. Moreover, it is difficult to find a single empirical study that convincingly proves the effectiveness of English songs for learning English L2 vocabulary.

To fill this gap in existing research, Dr. Dennis Murphy Odo, associate professor at Pusan ​​National University, South Korea, conducted a quantitative meta-analysis to examine the effect that teaching with English songs a on learning L2 vocabulary in second and foreign language. language classes.

For this study, recently published in Language, culture and curriculumDr. Murphy Odo extracted data from 27 well-designed research studies, including 28 studies and 1,864 participants, published between 1990 and 2020. After defining study characteristics and effect size, he analyzed data using a random effects model.

The results were very encouraging, revealing that learners who received instruction through English songs outperformed other learners in learning more L2 English vocabulary. Interestingly, songs from the pop music genre were found to be more effective in promoting L2 vocabulary than textbook songs. The appeal of pop songs could be attributed to their musical quality and their relationship with the audience.

Dr. Murphy Odo also observed that students benefited the most from listening to English songs for a teaching time that was neither too long nor too short (in the study, this is defined as between 199 and 600 minutes).

“English teachers can now feel more confident about using songs as a complementary instructional strategy to improve their students’ L2 English vocabulary learning”explains Dr. Odo, while explaining how the results can help students and teachers in the long run.

Dr. Murphy Odo’s findings also showed that speakers of Sino-Tibetan languages ​​(e.g. Mandarin Chinese) had the most difficulty understanding English songs, which may be due to the considerable linguistic difference between the Sino languages. -Tibetan and English. Additionally, the songs were found to be more effective for adult learners than for children, which can be attributed to adults’ greater ability to understand the songs and greater overall knowledge of context.

“These results will encourage teachers to use the songs not only as a fun activity to occupy their lesson time, but also as a useful way to reinforce learners’ knowledge of new vocabulary in English. This work can give teachers languages ​​and learners the assurance that using songs in the second or foreign language learning classroom will help them learn English vocabulary more effectively,” comments Dr. Murphy Odo, summarizing the long-term implications of his work.

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Reference

Title of the original article: Examining the influence of English songs on L2 lexical learning in English: a quantitative meta-analytic review

Newspaper: Language, culture and curriculum

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/07908318.2021.2022684

On Pusan ​​National University

Pusan ​​National University, located in Busan, South Korea, was founded in 1946 and today is the no. 1 national university in South Korea in research and educational competence. The multi-campus university also has other smaller campuses in Yangsan, Miryang and Ami. The university prides itself on the principles of truth, freedom, and service and has approximately 30,000 students, 1,200 professors, and 750 faculty members. The university is made up of 14 colleges (schools) and an independent division, with 103 departments in total.

Website: https://www.pusan.ac.kr/eng/Main.do

About the Author

Professor Dennis Murphy Odo obtained his Ph.D. in Language and Literacy Education from UBC. Previously, he was a teacher trainer in TESOL methods at a public school in Canada and for the Korean Ministry of Education and an assistant professor of ESOL/reading education at Georgia State University, where he taught courses first and second language reading. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of English Education at Pusan ​​National University, where he teaches courses on second language acquisition and literacy teaching methods. His main research interests include learner autonomy, technology, second language literacy instruction and teacher development.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5438-0446

Personal website address: https://dmodo.pusan.ac.kr


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