Free professional blog for English teachers
Are you looking for ways to make your lessons more exciting and engaging? A creative way to use audio in your lessons might be just what you are looking for. After all, there is no better way to learn a new language than to hear it being spoken.
This week we will explore:
There is plenty of research that proves listening to audio in the classroom can be a powerful learning tool. Whether you have put on a piece of classical music whilst your students study independently or you are introducing a new English speaking podcast. There are a number of ways to introduce audio into your classroom setting, each with numerous benefits. Listening to music, for example, can elevate a person's mood, our brains release the feel-good chemical, dopamine while we listen to music. Dopamine makes us happier and more relaxed and there is evidence that music improves brain function.
Alternatively, when we think about learning a new language it can be hugely beneficial to hear someone speaking in that language. There is evidence that listening to stories builds literacy skills in much the same way as reading them and of course when we listen to a story we sometimes understand it in a different way, especially if we are new to a language. Verbal communication can often express things that written language cannot, such as the emotions of the speaker or sarcasm for example.
One of the biggest benefits of introducing your students to audio in the classroom is that you are able to introduce them to a wider vocabulary than you would be able to simply with the written word. Students who are still working on the reading aspect of their new language may struggle to break down longer, more advanced words but that doesn’t mean they are not ready to widen their vocabulary. Allowing them to listen to something more complex takes away one element of their learning process, allowing more room for understanding.
Listening to audio in lessons also turns the learning into a social experience, they can laugh together with their peers at a joke for example, or gasp in disbelief. This adds another layer to their learning experience. Making them more likely to retain the information. It also provides them with an opportunity to discuss what they are listening to, generating more understanding.
Using audio in the classroom can be as simple as reading a story aloud, and being sure to speak slowly and clearly. Or you could use the thousands of sound clips that read the text on the screen in our student presentations. You could set a homework assignment that asks your students to go home and listen to English rather than reading. You could ask your students to share their favourite English songs or even give them the task of writing and recording their own podcast. The possibilities are endless.
For more great ideas about how to incorporate more audio into your classroom you may like to look at this pdf and most importantly, have fun with it!
Written by Rebecca Sparling