Topic 17 – The theme song as a vehicle and as poetic literary creation in the English class. Typology of songs. Techniques using the song for the phonetic, lexical and cultural learning.

Topic 17 – The theme song as a vehicle and as poetic literary creation in the English class. Typology of songs. Techniques using the song for the phonetic, lexical and cultural learning.


To begin with, it might be interesting to have a look at definitions of literature, poetry and song, to go over to explain their usage in the English language classroom in thee succeeding parts

The term literature has generally come to identify a collection of texts or works, which in Western culture are mainly prose, fiction and non-fiction, drama and poetry.

Poetry is a form of art in which language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition or instead of its evident meaning.

A song is a relatively short musical composition for the human voice (commonly accompanied by other musical instruments).

Songs as poetry and literay creation in the English language classroom.

Music is a strong resource which helps create positive feelings about English. While songs serve as useful teching tools for EFL students, they also contribute to helping create a positive and warm atmosphere in English learning environment.

Songs are invaluable tools to develop student’s language abilities in listening, speaking, reading and writing and can be used to teach a variety of language items such as sentence patterns, vocabulary, pronunciation, rhythms, adjectives, adverbs and so on. Learning English songs also provides a non-threatening atmosphere for students, who usually have great tension when speaking English in a formal classroom setting.

Students show great interest in learning English through songs, particularly those chosen by them.

Typology of songs

One division to classify songs can be done between art songs, popular songs and folk songs. Other common methods of classification are y purpose, style or by time of origin.

We are going to concentrate on those kinds of songs that are most important for English language teaching.

Art songs are songs created for performance

Popular songs are songs which may be considered in between are songs and folk songs. They are usually accompanied in performance and recording by a band.

Folk songs are songs of often anonymous origin that are transmitted orally. They are frequently a major aspect of national or cultural identity.

Lullaby is a song sung to children before they go to sleep. These songs can be uses with younger children in the EFL classroom.

Jazz chants

Jazz chants originally developed by Carolyn Graham in late 1960. Jazz chants are meaningful and communicative, they help students to learn the stress, rhythm and intonation patterns. It’s a very effective and enjoyable way to learn.

Jazz chants stimulate and appeal to multiple senses of learning. Students speak, sing, tap, and move while chanting.

The strong beat and the meaningful lines make the chant stick in one’s mind. The effect doubles and triples when music, movement, and role play are added.

Jazz chants are interactive. Although jazz chants lessons involve a great deal of repetition, the repetition is always in response to other students or the teacher and always ends with activities such as role-pñay.

Finally, jazz chants reduce anxiety and motivate learners. The use of music relaxes many students and the opportunity to practice common phrases with an authentic model helps students feel more comfortable using those phrases in conversation. Students also respond more positively to lessons made enjoyable by activities that involve music.

Techniques for using songs to learn phonetics, vocabulary and culture

Songs can be used for example, to focus on sounds. As languages differ in their range of sounds, students have to learn to physically produce certain sounds previously unknown to them. Songs are authentic and easily accessible examples of spoken English. The rhymes in songs provide listeners with repetition of similar sounds. To focus learners on particular sounds, we may create activities based on song’s rhymes.


In recent years, second language researchers have concerned themselves with the acquisition of vocabulary and have distinguished between vocabulary that is acquired incidentally and vocabulary that is acquired intentionally. Songs can be used to acquire vocabulary intentionally without students being aware of it.

To work on semantic fields of actions, animals and clothes we have chosen three songs that are popular with young students and can help them learn basic vocabulary while having fun. The first song, “The Mulberry Bush” teaches basic daily actions such as brushing teeth. The second song is classic “Old MacDonald had a farm” and teaches animal names and sounds. The last one “what are you wearing?” Is about clothes.


There are songs for many British and American festivals. Some examples would be “Guy Fawkes Day” “Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day”


The relation between this topic and the curriculum can be found on the one hand, as far as motivation is concerned and on the other, as far as the “ludic” aspect of teaching a foreign language is concerned. It can also be underlined that this topic is strongly related to interdisciplinary and thus mainly to these key Competences: linguistic competence, cultural and artistic competence. Artistic Education is another area in the Primary Curriculum and it may be necessary, now and then, to ask the music teacher for help when trying to apply a special song. It should also be possible to study the interpretation of a song in music lesson once the students have understood the meaning of the song.