Thursday 13 January 2011

Teaching English through songs in the digital age (part 1 of 4): Background readings and resources

In case you didn´t know, I´m an avid tweeter, especially for Professional Development and networking with colleagues all over the world. And one of the best examples of collaboration towards PD in ELT is #ELTchat, a weekly one-hour conversation on Twitter on a topic voted by those who are interested in participating. #ELTchat is usually moderated by the amazing @Marisa_C (Marisa Constantinides), @rliberni (Berni Wall) and @esolcourses (Sue Lyon Jones) and each weekly chat is archived at

Yesterday, #ELTchat was about Teaching English through songs: activities, resources and benefits of using songs for teaching. So that you get an idea of the intensity of the conversation, these are the stats:
  • 13 readings and resources,
  • 68 ideas for using songs,
  • 50 example songs with links,
  • 11 music-related web 2.0 tools
 All this information, which I have tried to digest for easier consumption, is too long to be posted in one blog post so I have divided it into 4 parts:
  • Part 1: Background readings and resources related to teaching English through songs
  • Part 2: Ideas of tasks for using songs
  • Part 3: Specific songs and their uses
  • Part 4: Music-related web 2.0 tools

So here it goes!

Background reading and general resources

Using music in world language performance assessment , interesting article, based on ACTFL modes of communication, 4 performance assessments [word doc] 

Music and Song by Tim Murphey. (OUP) Useful teacher resource book 

A Beatles YouTube Album, The Beatles Learning Styles & Creativity in 6 posts.

Why use songs and some ready activities for various levels

BC Learn English Kids has lots of great sing-along-songs for kids

You´ve got to learn   Brilliant post by @evab2001 on how to use same song but in a different language

Esol UK has great bank of songs, videos and activities 

Learn English with Songs by @esolcourses – Fabulous song resources and lessons for multi levels

Some readers´suggestions that are worth sharing

Music and Song in ELT by Greg Quinlivan
My ESL friends Song page by George Machlan

Music and Songs in the Classroom: Techniques to Aid the Language Learning Process by Elda Macias

Teacher training presentation on using song by David Deubelbeiss.

Facebook group Songs for Teaching (sent by Susana Canelo)

Songs in EFL classroom, another great blog post by @evab2001

I hope you enjoyed these resources which were contributed by all those partcipating in  #ELTchat. Part 2 coming soon...


  1. Fantastic compilation, and so quick!

    It was my first ELTchat and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I started off trying to take in everything whizzing past me in TweetDeck, but gave up early on, especailly when I realised I was missing so much when trying to post myself. I knew there would be transcripts available, but was still wondering how I was going to make sense of the transcripts when you posted this. It will be very useful to me and I will share it with my colleagues.

    Many, many thanks Vicky.

  2. Hi Vicky,

    I couldn't make the chat this week, so I was very happy when I found your tweet and then post summarising this weeks #eltchat!



  3. Thanks Vicky for making the effort to summarise, categorise and crystallise our discussion last night. It is invaluable to spend time on this. It takes it to so many more people, it makes it more accessible and it turns it into a working resource for elt teachers all over the world. Fantastic work!

  4. Hi Vicky

    Congratulations on doing such a fabulous job of what we discussed yesterday!! The pace was fast and furious and ideas were flying around at an incredible rate, which was really very exciting. The buzz was almost tangible here in Abruzzo!!

    I thoroughly enjoyed the chat (as indeed each #ELTchat I have ever attended)and it's great that you have summarised all our thoughts, links and resources in this excellent fashion.

    Many thanks and well done!!


  5. Stavroula Haritou13 January 2011 at 09:16

    Thanks a lot, very useful resources. I'll put them into practice asap.

  6. Sorry I couldn't be part of the discussion.
    I would like to offer teachers access to my own Prezi called "Music and Song in ELT" which includes benefits, issues & uses of song, approach to learning, ways of performing, possible activities from beginning primary school to high school classes, potential background music, other online resources and articles.
    You can find the presentation at
    Best wishes for 2011.

  7. Dear Greg,
    Thanks for stopping by and adding more resources! I will add it at the end of the post


  8. Dear all,
    Thanks for all the nice comments. The truth is I liked this #ELTchat so much that I couldn´t wait to organize all the information!!!!
    And the best is yet to come!


  9. This is really a comment I got through my e-mail, but worth posting.

    I am having trouble posting to your blog. Here is the info I would like to add to your current discussion. I am enjoying your work and very happy to find you.

    I wish I wasn't in the middle of a blogsite makeover. I am totally into using song for the acquisition of spoken English skills. Here is part of the site that is done:
    and here is some fun intro videos to our Karaoke ESL thing:
    and why I think song is the key

    George Machlan

  10. Great stuff! Thank you very much. I do practice teaching even adults via songs. But these resources I find mega handy.

  11. Thanks so much for summarizing this information. I am looking forward to your next posts.

  12. Vicki,

    Thanks for the work! I'd ask teachers to check out all the teacher shared karaoke files (or make their own) on EFL Classroom 2.0. Thousands from teachers all over the world. Also, on my blog, I show how to make a doodle video. they are cool and students love making them.

    Also, my teacher training presentation on using song. Click the pics to go to examples.

    Let's keep our students singing and learning!


  13. Dear Vicky:
    Great post with tons of resources. I love your idea to write it so many participants added more sites.
    BTW, I wasn't there ( I mean in Twitter), but I really like working with songs in the classroom. There is a good group in Facebook:

    Good job and keep on singing !!

  14. Great work Vicky!! I´ve already added Diigo to my Twitter account and love all the resources shared at #ELTchat.

    Let´s start singing together!!

  15. Thanks very much for all the ideas and resources. Have posted a link to this on the TeachingEnglish facebook page

    Please feel free to post their directly yourself when you have anything more you'd like to share.



  16. Well done Vicky! This information you've shared is very useful. You've delivered the information very well.

  17. Thanks so much! I deeply cherish Educational Technology to allow our loved ones (And little ones) have more knowledge and less money and time. I'll keep up with this blog as much as I can on a daily basis.

  18. Hi, Vicky! Thanks for these great links! I use Beatles songs in my classes. The one that I use is Yesterday which I use to introduce the past tense. I'm excited to learn more how other teachers are using songs in their class. My students love to sing.