etf_56_1_pg14-21.pdf - KRISTIN LEMS United States New Ideas...

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2 01 8E N G L I S H T E A C H I N G F O R U M14americanenglish.state.gov/english-teaching-forumKRISTIN LEMSUnited StatesNew Ideas forTeaching EnglishUsing Songs and MusicMusic is universally pleasurable and important, and no knownsociety is without it. In fact, it predatesHomo sapiens! Fluteshave been found around the campfire in Neanderthal cave sitesin artifacts that date back 53,000 years (Leutwyler 2001). Music is part ofour lives in ways both big and small, from musical rites of passage to the“wraparound” musical landscape we can now program into our earbuds.Young adults in particular listen to music almost nonstop, and theirplaylists form an important part of their identities. It only makes sense touse students’ interest in music as a motivator for their English studies.Even if you do not lead a choir or sing songswith students around a campfire, there are manyways you can bring music and songs into yourEnglish classroom. Some techniques can beenhanced by technology, but for many others,technology is not necessary at all. If you arenot already convinced of the wonders of musicand learning, the following brief overview maymotivate you to try new techniques. In thisarticle, I share effective ideas for using music toteach English, followed by a selection of reliableonline resources for accessing music and songs.MUSIC AND THE BRAINMore than 100 years ago, French scientist PierrePaul Broca (1824–1880) identified a part of theleft frontal hemisphere of the brain as the areain which the syntax of language is processed. Acentury later, using magnetoencephalography(MEG) imaging, researchers found that musicsyntax was processed in that same area, namedBroca’s area (Maess et al. 2001). Fascinatingly,researchers found that Broca’s area respondedin a similar way to dissonant music andungrammatical sentences. This finding suggesteda close relationship between the “patternmaking” activity found in both music andlanguage. This was the first of many discoveriesmade possible in the field of brain research usingequipment available at the time.More recently, researchers have found thatemotional reactions to music are registeredin the limbic system, one of the oldest areasof the brain from an evolutionary standpoint(Moreno 2008). A researcher at CornellUniversity discovered that “music with a quicktempo in a major key ... brought about all thephysical changes associated with happiness inlisteners” (Leutwyler 2001, 2).Thanks to safe imaging technologies, includingpositron emission tomography (PET) scans,functional magnetic resonance imaging(fMRI), and MEG scans, we now have a moredetailed look at music and the brain, and itis an amazing vista. We can see clearly that
2 0 1 8E N G L I S H T E A C H I N G F O R U M15americanenglish.state.gov/english-teaching-forummusical experiences cascade across many areasof the brain, not only one or two. LaboratoryDirector Gottfried Schlaug from the HarvardMedical School has said, “I would challenge

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Term
Summer
Professor
E.J.Sinker
Tags
Music, researcher, Teaching English as a foreign language, english teaching forum

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