Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Have Fun Learning English without Feeling Guilty

Learning English through music and songs can help you improve in ways you may not expect. 

First, learning and singing English songs can be a lot of fun. Many of you who are studying for high stakes  English tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC,  are working very hard., but you are NOT having a lot of fun while you do it. 

Guilt Free Learning 

Here is a way for you to work on many aspects of your English  without feeling guilty that you aren't  putting serious effort into your learning.  

Working with and learning English songs can help you improve your listening - especially for word endings, hard to hear sounds, fast English and any number of other things depending  on what you want to focus on. 

It can also help you to learn and improve your vocabulary, collocations, expressions and idioms - as they are used in the real world. 


Remembering and being able to Use  New Vocabulary  

Even better, it can actually help you to remember  the words and expressions. Learning
words for a few weeks is OK, but wouldn't  you like to be able to remember them and actually use them?  Most of my students complain that remembering new vocabulary is one of their biggest problems. 

Here is a trick to help you remember those words. Choose songs that you like and learn the lyrics (words) by heart. Yes, memorize them.  But be careful! Don't just learn passively. You  must sing the song out loud as loudly and as often as you can. 

You will be amazed at how fast your vocabulary improves. Not only that - you  will sound much more natural and fluent both in your writing and your speaking - because you are not learning words in isolation, but in phrases, the way they are supposed to be used.  

And  that's just vocabulary. 

Learn to Sound More "Natural" in English

Learning English through songs can help also you improve your pronunciation. Think of all those famous singers who sing in English with no accent at all even when it is NOT their first language


Of course,  I have to stress that you have to sing out loud if you want to do this. But, think of it as "studying." 

Focus on specific issues - word endings "s". "ed" / specific  vowel or consonant sounds, word and sentence level stress, phrasing, pausing at appropriate times. 

You do have to put in some effort. After you listen to and learn the song, you need to start analyzing which words are joined together through linking, which words are stressed, where the singer pauses. 

You can do this by speaking the song out loud while you are listening to it.  Use a piece of paper and mark off the pronunciation points you want to work on. 


Songs as Discussion Points  
Songs can be a great way to introduce topics and issues that you can discuss with one partner or with a whole group. They can make you think of ideas and subject matters that make you think, and argue, agree, disagree - even tell stories of your own. 

There are other major activities you can do to improve your English. I will discuss several more in my next post. 

But, just in case you  don't take me seriously, here is a song in which I have included many activities including vocabulary, grammar and discussion questions. 

Have a little fun. Give it a try.  Share it with your friends. Try out the discussion questions. It will give you an opportunity to talk about something.  




 Let me know what you think. Did you enjoy this? Was it useful? Would you like more? 


Leave a comment in the comment box below. 

1 comment:

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    Cool flash games

    ReplyDelete

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