Music and the ESL Classroom: Problems and Possibilities


This article seeks to investigate real-time classroom uses of music in ESL language education. We focus on two partially overlapping methodologies: one that assumes that music and language constitute two different cognitive realms that could speak to each other, and another that grounds instruction on what it perceives are fundamental aspects both share as languages. We tentatively refer to the first one as a traditional mode of teaching where students fine-tune their language skills by a critical analysis of musical pieces, by the use of song lyrics for instruction, or by the historical examinations of musical genres. Second, we look at how the use of English education for music students thrives on the assumption that English and music are both modes of communication that share a common foundation. Here faculty focus on rhythm or intonation to ground their teaching. We intend thus the provide a more complex categorization of music in ESL pedagogy that may lay the groundwork for both theoretical growth and classroom practical use. This research integrates classroom observation, faculty interviews, and student feedback as sources of information with a mixed-methods approach.

Author Information
Victor Jose Rodriguez, Beijing Institute of Technology, China
Ang-Cheng Kris Ho, Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College, China

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2023
Stream: Teaching and Learning

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon