Using Songs to Enhance Language Learning and Skills in the Cypriot Primary EFL Classroom

Diakou, Maria (2013). Using Songs to Enhance Language Learning and Skills in the Cypriot Primary EFL Classroom. EdD thesis The Open University.



Although the role of songs in the primary EFL classroom has attracted the interest of a number of researchers (Newham 1995; McMullen and Saffran 2004; Millington 2011), given the frequency with which songs are being used in English language teaching classrooms, it might have been expected that Cyprus would wish to play a role in extending research findings and applying them to its own educational setting. Yet the lack of research with young learners is particularly acute in the Cypriot Primary School EFL context where pupils have been working for the last 15 years with very outdated textbooks. Evidence of the effectiveness of using songs to learn English has come mainly from studies in other countries mainly with older pupils in middle and high schools, (Adkins 1997; Millington 2011; Fonseca-Mora et al. 2011). My research, therefore, aims to address this gap by attempting to find out whether songs could play an important role in learning a foreign language with Cypriot learners of 9-12, an age range that has not so far been addressed in the literature. In my study, I examine the potential of songs as a valuable pedagogical tool to help young pupils learn English. More specifically, I investigate the role of songs (1) in arousing positive emotions in the primary language classroom and (2) in determining whether and to what extent positive emotions can help to reinforce the grammatical structures being taught and aid vocabulary acquisition. Using an ethnographic case study framework, my study attempted, through the use of quantitative and qualitative methods, to assess the effectiveness of working with songs in the EFL classroom. The findings of this research revealed that the majority of pupils taking part in the study following the normal EFL curriculum which involved two 40-minute EFL lessons a week, showed considerable improvement in language learning after the use of songs. This suggested that the framework of EFL competence in Cyprus might also benefit from the implementation of songs into the current English language curriculum.

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