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How to Pick Songs Your Students Will Enjoy
Laura Kimoto Taps Interest By Letting Them Choose

Laura Kimoto, of Hawai'i Community College's Intensive English Program, adds another important perspective on the use of songs in ESL. See also Some Basic Ways to Use Songs in ESL, "There Was An Old Lady," and The Connection Between Song and Poetry.

Why not have each student (or they could do this in groups) choose a song to present to the class. They can easily get lyrics off of the Internet. They should check with teacher first to get the song 'approved.' Then they can do all the dictionary work they need to in order to understand the lyrics, colloquialisms, slang, imagery. Then, they can present it the class by reading the lyrics out loud 'with feeling'. They can also play the CD music. I did this for a reading class, so the emphasis was reading and vocabulary, but for listening / speaking, students could design a 'test' of some sort for the song.

I had a student from Taiwan who had a collection of English songs that are featured in TV commercials. She did an excellent presentation on Olivia Newton-John's "I Honestly Love You."

As for more contemporary stuff, Pink's "Missundaztood" has songs with interesting lyrics that deal with self-esteem issues. Also check out Linkin Park's "Hybrid Theory" (songs about abuse I believe) and Eminem's newest Cd (I forgot the title, though).

By Laura Kimoto
Intensive English Program
Hawai'i Community College

2002 ESL MiniConference Online