Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lernlieder (Learning through songs)

This is from Richard Graham, an English teacher in Japan.  His program is called Genkie English, and he calls his teaching style "getting Genkie."  He uses songs and hand motions for most everything.

1) Rock 'n Roll
Loud music works best.  Especially for shy students.
(University of Manchester research says: "music fans are stimulating part of the inner ear known as the sacculus, which responds to the beat in music. This gives the brain pleasure and makes us feel good -- during the music and afterwards.")
Quiet, slow music puts kids to sleep.  Pretty obvious.  A lot of traditional songs are great at bedtime, but probably not in school!
*Secret Teaching Tip* If you get told off for being too noisy, tell the kids to be super genki (i.e. excited, full of life and energy) but .... whispered! Really over exaggerate as you move and sing.  It gets lots of laughs and works *nearly* as well as being super loud!
2) Don't *reuse* the same tune
Great songs work because of the link between the words and melody.  They become "Earworms" which stick in your head all day.
(University of London research says: "The term earworm refers to the experience of having a tune or a part of a tune stuck in your head. Often a person experiencing an earworm has no idea why a tune has popped into their head and has little control over how long it continues. ")  Earworms are why Genki English is so successful.*
But ... if you re-use a famous melody ... then the link between words and music is broken and the effect can be lost.  

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