Anabel Alcántara García was born in Cádiz and currently lives in this southern Spanish city. She has been teaching English in Pre-school and Primary for five years and is currently working as an EFL teacher in the “Nuestra Señora del Carmen FEA 1826” school in Cádiz. She is interested in making sure her students learn in an active way and uses a variety of communicative techniques in class.
An invigorating resource that we cannot do without in the teaching of a new language is music. Music revitalizes, it makes us vibrate, and it is an authentically inspiring element to learn new content. Music also facilitates us to acquire new information in an enjoyable environment which lends itself to movement and favours group dynamics and cohesion.
Based on the premise that we learn better through happiness and interaction with peers, children will have a better reaction to orders and will integrate the vocabulary meaningfully if we introduce new content using songs and games. Music offers us a huge range of strategies for classroom management: for example, by teaching content through popular nursery rhymes not only can children sing and remember better but they can also connect words to actions, melodies, and movement – giving a context to learning. There is a large variety of popular songs for the little ones in English which not only helps them acquire significant vocabulary, gain expressions, and improve phonics, but immerses them into English-speaking folklore, giving us one more reason to use music in our classrooms.
Even to delimit classroom routines, music is our best ally. Thanks to short repetitive rhymes, children connect the song to a follow-up activity and they feel confident and part of their own learning. This is why music contributes to quickening the smooth functioning of cooperative work in class, as children can organize themselves in a self-sufficient way. We are able to find rhymes for diverse moments in class:
- Greeting songs: Teacher: “Good morning, good morning to you” Kids: “Good morning Miss Ana, good morning to you”
- Circle time: “Everybody sits down, sits down on the floor”
- Big or small groups games: “Hello girls and boys, play with me, play with toys”
- Classroom cleaning: “Time to tidy, tidy up, clean your classroom” or games: “With my magic wand we will turn into real hoovers, let´s clean up!”
- Individual work: “Time for tables, sit down please, on your chair”
- Short songs or rhymes that help us maintain the silence or catch our kids’ attention are also valuable: “Silence, silence shu shu shu, silence, silence, you and you.” An efficient example is also creating rhythms with a simple “sh” sound, doing shorts and longs. They will imitate these rhythmic series so we can go progressively from a loud volume to a whisper. We will manage to calm then down and renew the contact with them again.
To sum up, music is an essential tool in the learning of a language at these young ages, as it provides a context to learning. Music influences every area of child development by stimulating their senses; attending their emotional welfare, opening their minds to creativity, developing memory, and promoting peer connection. If we want to reach an authentic quality bilingual teaching, music is indispensable in our nursery schools.