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Experiences in teaching songs and chants for primary students of grade 4






The implementer: Dam Thuy Dung
Position: Teacher
School: Quang Phu Primary School
Subject: English



1.1. The reasons for choosing the topic


1.2. The purpose of research.


1.3. The objects of research.


1.4. The methods of research.


2.1.The behaviorist theory
2.2 . Situation issues before applying experience initiative.
2.3. The solutions of implementation.
2.3.1. How to teach songs and chants.
2.3.2. Types of songs and chants.
2.3.3. Exploiting songs and chants.
2.3.4. Song and chant contest
2.3.5. Problems.
2.3.6. Six steps for making a song or a chant the focus of your class.
2.4. The efficiency of the experience initiative.
3.1. Conclusion
3.2. Suggestion



1.1. The reasons for choosing the topic.
Since English has become an international language, more and more
people learn English. The importance of English as a world language has made
people to learn English as early as possible. Teaching English as a foreign
language to young learners need special approach since young learners have
special characteristics, they have their own way of learning. The forms of fun
activities for children are songs, chants and rhymes. The main objective of this

experience initiative is to emphasize the importance of using songs and chants in
teaching of English as a foreign language to young learners.
Their functions, criteria for election and the way of presenting them to the
class will also be analised. Song, chants and rhymes are amazing tool for
teaching language, especially to children. Young learners pick up pronunciation,
vocabulary, grammartical structures and rhymes of language.
English has become the main language of communication all over the
world and early learning of English in the school context is becoming more
common. Teaching of English from primary education is very common many
countries, icluding Viet Nam. Learning English starts at the age of 5 and 6.
Teaching children can be immensely rewarding, teachers who has
experienced that can tell about it. But it’s not fun and games all the time, and
sometimes it’s just not that easy. English teachers who wish to teach children
must be aware of the challengesand difficulties they may encounter, and prepare
accordingly. But still the young age is different, children learna language faster
than adults, they do not learn through traditional language teaching methods.
Through fun activities children can learn a language better as learning becomes
natural for them since these activities do not make them conscious that they are
learning a language .
Children can learn better through interresting activities and for this reason
songs, rhymes and chants are very useful tools for teaching them a foreign
language. Actually these are the tools that help children learn in an enjoyable
environment without making them feel the pressure of learning a foreign
language .
Songs, chants and rhymes are full of lexicon, they are authentic language
and students can take advantage of their repetition and musicality, contributing
to the learning of expressions. When students listen to them again and again they
acquire and receive a great language input unconsciously. They also help to
create a relaxing and pleasant atmosphere, motivating students in the learning
and introducing fun and happiness in the foreign language classroom .
Songs, chants and rhymes work wonderfully as a part of an ESL program
for children, for a non-native speaker at the beginning stage it is clearly easier to
sing or recite a rhyme in English than it is to communicte personal information,
wants or needs. The rhythm and rhymes naturally appealing to a child, the child
is a eager to be a part of the rhythm and to participating in reciting the rhyme.
A class in which every child feels welcomed as a participating member is
a vital factor in effective teaching. Sharing part of the rhythm and to participate
in reciting the rhyme. A class in which every child feels welcomed as a
participating member is a vital factor in effective teaching. Sharing songs and
chants are easy to memorize, the children derive visible satisfaction and
confidence from this newly acquired fluency that comes so quickly .
Most primary school teachers generally use songs as a teaching technique
and Carmeron (2001) claims that the use of songs and chants is also important

for young learners in foreign language classrooms. Likewise, Johnstone (2002)
claims that teachers of young learners may make an important contribution to
children’s early language education by introducing their classes to recorded
songs, and Demirel(2004) claims that the most effective way to teach listening
comprehension, pronunciation,and dictation to young leaners is through teaching
After exploring and accumulating the experiences from colleagues, I have
some experiences in teaching songs and chants and achieved quite effective
results. The students are more active and interested in learning English and more
confident in speaking before the class. This improves that my methods are right.
With the passion and the love for teaching English, I have studied and developed
the research: "Experiences in teaching songs and chants for primary students
of grade 4 "
1.2. The purpose of research.
- The research applies the methods of teaching songs and chants to
involve students in learning English well.
- Creating the language circumstance to communicate in English and
promote students to actively participate in communicative activities; offering
some solutions and methods for teaching songs and chants.
- Exchanging and sharing some experiences in teaching songs and chants
for young learners.
1.3. The objects of research.
Research Time : School Year 2018-2019.
Research Location: Quang Phu Primary School
Research Object: "Experiences in teaching songs and chants for
primary students of grade 4 "
The respondents of the research: With this research I focused on the
primary students, especially the students of class 4.
Systematizing some theoretical issues about the procedures and activities
in teaching songs and chants in for young learners according to the
communicative approach.
Exploring the present situation of teaching songs and chants at Primary
School and suggesting some techniques in teaching songs and chants to develop
speaking and listening skill for elementary students, helping them be more
confident to communicate in English.
1.4. The methods of research.
- Method of literature review.
- Method of survey (Questionnaire).
- Method of secondary data.
- Method of statistical analysis.
2.1.The behaviorist theory


Behavorist is a theory of learning that was influential in the 1940s
and1950s, especially in the United States.With regard to language learning, the
best-known proponent of this psychological theory was B.F.Skinner (1957).
Traditional behaviorists hypothesized that when children imitated the language
produced by those around them, their attempts to produce what they heard
received “positive reinforcement”. This could take the form of praise or just
successful communication. Thus encouraged by their environment, children
would continue to imitate and practice these sounds an patterns and quantity of
the language the child hears, as well as the consistency of the reinforcement
offered by others in the environment, would shape the child’s language behavoir.
This theory gives great importance to the environment as the source of
everything the child needs to learn .
First of all we will want the classroom to be bright and colourful,with
windows the children can see out of, and with enough room for different
activities to be taking place. We might expect them to be working in groups in
different parts of the classroom, changing their activity every ten minutes or so.
“We are obviously”, Susan Halliwell writes : “not talking about classrooms
where children spend all their time sitting still in rows or talking only to the
teacher” (1992). Because children love discovering things, and because they
respond well to being asked to use their imagination, they may well be involved
in puzzle-like activities,in making things, in drawing things, in games, in
physical moverment or in songs.
There are many reasons for using songs and chants in teaching English as
a foreign language in primary schools. Naturally, “children really enjoy learning
and singing songs” (Phillips 1993: 100) and have fun doing rhythmic activities
while reciting rhymes. But there are deeper psychological, cultural and linguistic
A familiar way of language acquisition.
Children grow up with songs and chants and develop their first language
by them. Apart from being the most important spoken language, songs and
chants are the first experienced parts of communication in the children’s mother
tongue. They listen and react to nursery rhymes and finger games spoken and
often acted by their parents. They go to sleep with lullabies sung by their closest
care-givers or try to imitate little songs by babbling. So songs and chants give
them an intimate feeling, a special connection with their human environment
and influence the acquisition of their first language in an important way.
Analogous to the development of the mother tongue, the following points
also support foreign language acquisition :
- Music, rhythm and rhymes produce a positive live feeling.
- They motivate to learn and to be active.
- Children do not understand all words but do not feel inhibited.
- Rhythm supports vocabulary and structure learning.
The holistic approach.

Songs and chants are both means and content of foreign language
acquisition. There is no gap between the language used in lessons and that used
in real-life situations. Each understanding and each reacting are progresses in
language learning.
Songs and chants stimulate the hemispherical interaction. Busy with songs
and chants the left hemisphere (vocabulary, structure of the language) and the
right hemisphere (rhythm, feelings, mimic, gesture, senso-motoric etc.) work
together and make learning more effective. So it is small wonder how quick
students are at learning songs and chants.
The holistic approach also means that songs and chants are connected
with other learning and living areas like sport, literature, music and art.
Motivation by songs and chants.
Pupils’ motivation to learn “largely depends on the teaching methods and
the teacher’s personality” (seminar script from 24/04/01: 2). If the teacher
skillfully uses songs and chants the pupils usually are highly motivated. Songs
and chants are relaxing, they vary the lesson’s progress, they provide fun and
action “and encourage harmony within oneself and within a group” (Murphey
1992: 8). So the pupils are learning with fun and more effectively than without
these forms. Even shy or slow learning children are given encouragment by
singing or speaking in choir and so they feel able to speak in a foreign language.
Provision of meaningful vocabulary.
Songs and chants present a lot of linguistic material in a natural linguistic
context. So they support the monolingual and contextual approach in teaching a
foreign language. Words in songs and chants are meaningful to the learner,
which influences the acquisition in a positive way. “In general they use simple
conversational language with a lot of repetition” (Murphey 1992: 7). Therefore
songs and chants stick in the learner’s mind and the words and expressions used
are memorized more easily. Besides, songs and chants provide many
possibilities for constant repetition and revising as important mechanisms of the
language acquisition.
Support for phonetic development
“Poems, rhymes, chants and songs could be used to give a feeling for the
rhythm of the spoken language. Many well-known rhymes make use of the
iambic pentameter, the natural rhythm of the English language” (Straeter-Lietz
1999: 9). Practising intonation through reciting rhymes and poems is mostly
funny and very effective. To vary the sometimes boring pronunciation teaching
it is a proven remedy using rhymes and rhythmic chants, e.g. with minimal
The cultural aspect.
Music is a powerful stimulus for student engagement precisely because it
speaks directly to our emotions while still allowing us to use our brains to
analyse it and its effects if we so wish. According to Lo and Li(1998), songs are
able to change the monotonous mood in the class and with the smoothing effect

of music; they provide a comfortable class environment so that students can
devolop their lingual skills more easily. Besides, utilizing songs in class
environment amuses students, helps them feel relaxed and get rid of their
negative attitudes towards a foreign language while learning a lingual structure
through a song (Saricoban, 2002).
A piece of music can change the atmosphere in a classroom, it can amuse
and entertain. Children have a natural taste for music and because of that
English language teachers around the world use such enjoyable and supportive
means for children to improve language learning and acquisition.(Cakir,
http://iteslj.org, 1999). Music and poetry are also an essential part of foreign
language learning for young learners (Philips 1993:100) .
Murphey believes that music has the power to engrave itself into ur
brains, stating that “song work on our short or long term memory” and are
therefore adequatetools for using in the language classroom(1992.p.3)
2.2. Situation issues before applying experience initiative.
Teacher of young learners use music, namely songs and chants,
ubiquitously in the English classroom. Though songs and chants are commonly
used, teacher may not fully aware of the benefits of music in the young learner
The Vietnamese educational system believes in a well-balanced education
for all, cooperative behavior, group discipline, and conformity to standards.
General Education for Children Education is widespread in Vietnam. The
Vietnam Ministry of Education is instrumental in developing and maintaining
national curriculum guidelines as well as supporting materials. It is common for
Vietnamese children to participate in additional activities not provided by the
public school. Vietnamese children also participate in many arts or sports
activities such as music lessons, commonly, dance, rhythmic gymnastics,
swimming and painting. These activities create greater motivation forstudents
and a broader school experience.
Music is part of the educational system from kindergarten through high
school level, with several private and public schools focusing on arts training.
The Ministry of Education provides arts education in the schools, museums,
libraries, and other institutions, providing the most official supportand patronage
of the arts. Though music books boast a variety of musical genres, theministry
favors traditional arts and crafts and "high culture. ."Music education in Vietnam
begins with its youngest children. Before children enter school, many are
exposed to music through TV programs.Vietnamese Broadcasting Corporation
provides publically funded programming. They have many educational TV
programs for children. One of their most popular programs, The Vietnamese
Voice Kids has been running for many years. Hosted by many children, the
program invites many young learners to particpate in singing songs and dancing.
Vietnamese culture and the educational system are unique in many ways.
By understanding of the educational system, the power of groups, the challenge

ofdeveloping independence, individuality, and creativity, the influence of
perfectionism, the perception of Vietnamese uniqueness and its influence on
language and the importance of music, both Native English speaking teachers
and Native Vietnamese speaking teachers might be able to teach English
language to children more effectively.
Analysis of my school’s result in teaching and learning English in recent
years showed that our average score in speaking and listening has been
consistently lower than those schools in urban areas. It was a situation that was
of concern and motivated the examination of the school’s approach to the
teaching of speaking and listening.
Our school is a public primary school in a rural area in Thanh Hoa
province. It is a large school with around 799 students, ranging from 6 to 10
years old. There are three to four classes in each year levels, meaning that
collaboration among teachers is extremely important to ensure consistency in
learning programs. Songs and chants are taught in Lesson 1, Lesson 2 and
Lesson 3 in English 3,4,5. After several years of teaching the book Tieng Anh 4,
I found that many students can not speak or listen well. However, they like
singing and dancing during the lesson. Songs and chants use melody, strong
rhythm and simple vocabulary to arouse children's interest and attention. They
set up a situation where children learn and remember the target language
From those factors, I find that songs and chants use melody, strong
rhythm and simple vocabulary to arouse children's interest and attention. They
set up a situation where children learn and remember the target language
unconsciously. So if we use songs and chants in teaching English for young
learners, the pupils will understand and remember the lesson easily and
effectively. Although, it might be difficult to get the class used to the new songs
and chants, we wiil find that all children like them very much. We have to take
advantages of love to enrich the lanuage – teaching environment. There are
numerous variations of activities and teachers are advised to choose what best
suits their learners.
The quality survey and students’ classification:
Based on the present situation of students in class 4, the level of all
students is acquired after a few weeks of the school year with the methods of
teaching songs and chants to develop speaking and listening skill. I had 40
minutes to test students in class 4A to survey and classify the students. The
following will show the result in the students’ speaking and listening skills :

The numbers
of students


10= 22,7% 16= 36,4%

10=22,7% 8=18,2%

After doing the survey, I have classified the students and immediately
applied the methods and experiences which I accumulated over the years to
improve the teaching and learning quality.

2.3. The solutions of implementation.
In this part of the research I will suggest some techniques in using songs
and chants for teaching English. This research is by no means comprehensive;
rather it is an opportunity for sharing what I know about new perspectives in
teaching songs and chants for young learners.
2.3.1. How to teach songs and chants.
The following guidelines are not meant to be dogmas. According to the
specific situations they could be varied by the teacher.
Guidelines for teaching chants:
For presentation songs or chants should be played from a CD or spoken
by the teacher and the actions should be demonstrated. Then the teacher should
check if the students understood the content. It is not necessary to translate word
by word but the students should know what the rhyme or chant means. This step
can be supported by visual aids. Now the students learn the text step by step. In
the literature are to be found two tried and tested methods: the snowball
principle and the echo principle.
The snowball principle means that the teacher says a sequence becoming
longer and longer. After each saying the students repeat that sequence in chorus.
For example: (from Unit 1: Nice to see you again – Lesson 1 – Page 7 – Tiếng
Anh 4)
Good morning to you.
Good morning to you.
Good morning to you.
Good morning, dear Miss Hien.
Good morning to you.
Good morning to you.
Good morning to you.
Good morning, dear children.
Good morning to you.
The echo principle (see Schmid-Schönbein 2001: 120, 121) means that
the students as a group imagine they are an echo in a mountain wood, a valley,
another country .etc. The teacher shouts a sequence and the students repeat the
teachers sequence. It is expedient to build up a longer structure from its end.
For example: (from Unit 2: I’m from Japan – Lesson 1 – Page 13 – Tiếng
Anh 4)
Where are you from?
Hi. I’m Mai from Vietnam.
Hello, Mai. Nice to meet you.
Hello. I’m Akiko from Japan.
Hello, Akiko. Nice to meet you.
Hi. I’m Hakim from Malaysia.
Hello, Hakim. Nice to meet you.
Hello. I’m Linda from England.

Hello, Linda. Nice to meet you.
Both methods can also be supported by visual aids. If there are any
actions they should be done by the students while learning the text because it is
easier to learn them together. Longer texts can be learned verse by verse in the
following lessons. Now the children say the whole rhyme in chorus, in groups or
alone and do the actions.
Guidelines for teaching songs:
The order and the way of teaching songs is similar to teaching chants. At
first the song should be sung by the teacher or played from a CD once or twice
while the students only listen. They begin to understand and to absorb the tune
and the rhythm. During the next playing or singing the students can clap the
rhythm or hum the tune. Before learning the text step by step (see 2.3.1.) the
teacher should check the understanding and explain the words the children did
not understand. Then the students sing the song several times, at first supported
by the teacher’s voice, later without the teacher’s support.
When and how to use songs and chants?
Song and chants can be used at the beginning, during or at the end of any
lesson. We may use them in many different ways in the language classroom: as
short warm-ups to start our lessons, to introduce new language, to revise and
practice language, to change the mood or to get everyone’s attention. When
using music within our English classroom, we must select congs that are suitable
for the age group we are teaching and make clear which language aspect we are
going to practice or reinforce (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, spelling,
etc.). We can build up the following record chart which will help us to analyse
the full potential of each song and chant. If we use songs and chants regularly,
we can see that all four skills (speaking, reading, listening,and writing) can be
very well and equally practiced .
2.3.2. Types of songs and chants
There are a lot of different types of songs and chants with special
characteristics. But not all are useful for primary school students. The teacher
has to check the suitability according to the size of the text, the vocabulary, the
structure and his didactic intention.
* Types of songs:
Finger play songs
The content of these songs can be illustrated by the children’s finger
movement. They support the acquisition of gesture meaning and the use of
nonverbal expressions. They also develop the children’s senso-motoric abilities.
For example: “Hickory dickory dock ”(from websites on the internet)
Hickory dickory dock Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one (in the next verses two, three …),
The mouse ran down, Hickory, dickory, dock.


While singing the song the fingers of the right hand play the mouse on the
left arm. When the clock struck, the children clap the number of strikes and
Counting songs
These songs support the learning of numbers and are often connected with
using fingers. Most of them train the numbers from one to ten.
For example: “Ten little Indians” (from websites on the internet)
One little, two, little, three little Indians.
For little, five little, six little Indians.
Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians,
Ten little Indian boys (in the second verse - girls).
While singing the song the children show the numbers with their fingers.
Spelling songs
They are useful to train the sounds of the English alphabet. The separate
letters mostly sound different from their pronunciation in words. Therefore the
pupils need help for learning the individual letter sound.
Example: “Farmer Brown has got a dog” (from websites on the internet)
Farmer Brown has got a dog and Rover is his name, sir.
Farmer Brown has got a dog and Rover is his name.
R-O-V-E-R, R-O-V-E-R, R-O-V-E-R, and Rover is his name.
Instead of “dog” and “Rover” in the next verses stand: cat - Pussy - P-US-S-Y.
Action songs
The biggest group of songs aims at associating words with movements of
their body. They also “internalize the sounds and rhythms of English, … develop
a sense of rhythm [and] … give the children a chance ‘to let off steam’.”
(Phillips 1993: 101)
For example: “If you’re happy” (from websites on the internet)
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it,
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it, stamp your feet…
If you’re happy and you know it, sing a song, tra-la- la…
If you’re happy and you know it, shout “HOORAY”…
If you’re happy and you know it, do it all: clap your hands, stamp your
feet, sing a song, shout
Songs for special occasions
These songs are suitable for deepening the special vocabulary and for
celebrating these occasions in the school. They emphasize the cultural aspect of
For example: (from Unit 15: When’s Children’s Day? – Lesson 1 – Page
31- Tiếng Anh 4 )

Happy new year !
Happy, Happy new year !
Happy, Happy new year !
Time for hope and time for cheer.
Happy, Happy new year !
Happy, Happy new year !
Happy, Happy new year !
A song to joy for all to hear.
A new year comes! We say, hooray!
Happy new year !
Drop-a-word songs
These songs train the children’s concentration. They are often combined
with actions instead of the dropped words. Drop-a-word songs “encourage
internalisation of language” (Murphey 1992: 130).
For example: “My hat it has three corners” (from websites on the
My hat, it has three corners,
Three corners has my hat
And had it not three corners,
It would not be my hat.
my - hand on chest
hat - point to head
three - 3 fingers
corners - point to elbow
The 1st time you sing the song, do all actions and words;
The 2nd time, don't say 'my' only do the action;
The 3rd time, only action for 'hat',
The 4th time, only action for 'three',
The 5th time, only action for 'corners'.
Role-play songs
This type of song “contextualize vocabulary and make the transfer from
singing to meaningful referents.” (Murphey 1992: 129) They use the children’s
love for stories and role playing.
For example: “There was a princess long ago” (from websites on the
There was a Princess long ago, long ago, long ago . There was a Princess
long ago, long long ago.
And she lived in a big high tower, a big high tower, a big high tower, And
she lived in a big high tower, long long ago.
A wicked fairy waved her wand, waved her wand, waved her wand, A
wicked fairy waved her wand, long long ago.
The Princess slept for a hundred years, a hundred years, a h. y., The

Princess slept for a hundred years, long long ago.
A great big forest grew around, grew around, grew around, A great big
forest grew around, long long ago.
A handsome Prince came riding by, riding by, riding by, A handsome
Prince came riding by, long long ago.
He chopped the trees down one by one, one by one, one by one, He
chopped the trees down one by one, long long ago.
He woke the Princess with a kiss, with a kiss, with a kiss, He woke the
Princess with a kiss, long long ago.
So everybody’s happy now, happy now, happy now, So everybody’s happy
now long long ago
Topic songs
Many songs support the acquisition of vocabulary according to a special
topic like “The days of the week”, “ The months of the year”, “The weather” or
“The family”. If they do not fit in with other categories they are called “topic
For example: Look outside (for the topic “The weather”) (from websites
on the internet)
Look outside Look outside, look outside, it’s sunny out today.
It’s sunny outside, it’s sunny outside, it’s sunny out today.
According to the real weather can be sung instead of “sunny”: cloudy
windy, rainy, foggy, snowy.etc.
* Types of chants:
Chants are taught “to practise the sounds, rhythms and stress patterns of
English and in some cases to practise a structure” (Phillips 1993: 108). The
didactic background of some types of chants is similar to the types of songs
described. Above therefore we list the types of chants without detailed
descriptions unless there is not a corresponding type of songs.
Finger play rhymes
For example: Incy Wincy Spider ( from websites on the internet)
Incy Wincy Spider climbed up a water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain.
And Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again.
While saying the rhyme the fingers play the spider, an arm is the water
spout. The fingers show the rain. The sun is shown by a big arm wave.
Counting rhymes
Sometimes a little trick is necessary to choose one from among the
children without causing a squabble. Choosing rhymes are very useful for that.
They connect random selection with rhythmic speaking and train the vocabulary.
Choosing rhymes (counting-out rhymes)
For example: Apples, peaches (from websites on the internet)
Choosing rhymes: Apples, peaches

Apples, peaches, pears and plums,
Tell me when your birthday comes!
While saying a game leader point at a child at each syllable. The last child
tells its month of birth, e.g. “March”
The next children say the month beginning from January.
January, February, March.
The last child is the chosen one.
Action rhymes
For example: (from Unit 5: Can you swim ? – Lesson 3 – Page 34 Tieng Anh 4 )
Can you sing?
Can you sing?
Yes, I can.
I can sing.
Can you swim?
No, I can’t.
I can’t swim.
Can you swing?
No, I can’t.
I can’t swing.
While saying this chant the children do the action with rhymes.
Jump rope rhymes
The children like rope skipping. This rhythmic activity is often connected
with these simple poems. Jump rope rhymes support the acquisition of numbers
or simple sentence structures.
For example: (from Unit 4: When’s your birthday? – Lesson 2 – Page 27
- Tieng Anh 4)
Months of the year !
January, February, March.
Now it’s time to start.
April, May and June.
Sing a happy tune.
July, August, september.
Let’s play together.
October, November and December.
Remember, Remember, Remember.
While saying this rhyme the children can clap their hands.
Rhymes for special occasions
For example: (from Unit 15: When’s your birthday? – Lesson 3 – Page 34
- Tieng Anh 4 )
What do you do at Tet?
We buy flowers
And decorate the house

We clean the floor
And we wear new clothes.
We go out
And run along the street.
We see our family
And all our friends.
Clapping rhymes
The reciting of these very rhythmic rhymes is supported by hand
clapping. Each clapping rhyme has its own pattern how to clap hands with a
partner standing opposite. These rhymes support the development of a feeling
for rhythm for the language and, moreover, they train the right pronunciation of
For example: “A sailor went to sea, sea, sea” (from websites on the
A sailor went to sea, sea, sea
A sailor went to sea, sea, sea,
To see what he could see, see, see,
But all that he could see, see, see,
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea.
The children stand in pairs facing each other and clap in time to the
rhythm of the words.
Ball bouncing rhymes
They train the feeling for rhythm and the concentration both on reciting
and ball bouncing.
For example: “Number one, touch your tongue” (from websites on the
Number one, touch your tongue.
Number two, touch your shoe.
Number three, touch your knee.
Number four, touch the floor.
Number five, learn to five.
Number six, pick up sticks.
Number seven, go to heaven.
Number eight, over the gate.
Number nine, touch your spine.
Number ten - do it again.
While saying this rhyme the child bounce its ball and tries to do the
described action.
Topic rhymes
For example: “Take a snowball” (about the topic “Winter”) (from
websites on the internet)
Take a snowball
Take a snowball,

Put it on the ground,
Push it, roll it,
Make it big and round.
Look, your snowman is big and tall
But has no eyes, no nose at all.
Two stones will do and a carrot, too.
Now, Mister Snowman, how are you?
2.3.3. Exploiting songs and chants
Songs and chants can be exploited by other activities after learning and
often use. The aim is to enjoy the increase of knowledge but also to practise
listening skills and the vocabulary. The following ideas are taken from Phillips
(1993: 112,113).
Song or chant pictures
The teacher shows the children pictures that illustrate the content of a
song or a chant - some with gaps or mistakes. After listening, singing or reciting
the children should find the mistakes or complete the pictures.
If a song or a chant tells a story, the illustrating pictures could be cut out and
mixed. The children listen to the song or chant and put the pictures in the right
order. It can be done at the blackboard or on a handout.
Find the word
Before playing or singing a song or reciting a chant the teacher asks the
children to listen for a certain word. Then they write down the number of times
this word occurs.
To train the listening skills another possibility is to sing or recite wrong
words in the texts. The children compare with their own knowledge and write
down the number of mistakes.
Mixed-up lines or words
To promote reading skills and knowledge about sentence structure the
teacher can copy the text from textbooks or other sources, cut it out and mix the
order of words or lines. The children listen and put the lines or words in the
correct order again.
2.3.4. Song or chant contest
The English teacher organises a contest where the children recite their
favourite chants or sing their favourite songs. They can perform it alone or in
groups. A jury choose the best performer but all children involved should get an
appreciation to keep up their motivation. It is also possible to celebrate a “Day
of the English language” where the children can show their knowledge in songs,
chants and plays. There are no limits for the teacher’s ideas.
2.3.5. Problems
Beside the many advantages there are also problems in using songs and
chants for English teaching. Not all teachers are able to read notes and to work
out new songs. Therefore songs should be an important element in further
vocational teacher training. Besides, the department of education should provide

enough money for CDs and appropriate equipment for English lessons. A good
help for quite unmusical teachers is to transfer new texts into well-known
Some authentic rhymes or songs contain old expressions or dialectal or
distorted linguistic material. Therefore teachers should check their collected
material for useful and suitable content.
2.3.6. Six steps for making a song or a chant the focus of your class
My intention here is to provide a basic outline you can use with any song.
Remember, these are just suggestions so make sure to keep the profile of your
learners in mind.
Step 1: Listen to the song or the chant.
That’s it – start things off by just listening. It’s important to remember that
this is supposed to be a fun activity; don’t make it too serious or boring.
As an alternative, you can show a video clip if you have one – in fact, I strongly
recommend it, as it will cater to more learners’ learning preferences.
Ask learners if they’ve heard it before, and don’t overload them with tasks at
this point; simply let them enjoy the music.
Step 2: Ask some questions about the title
Here are a couple of examples of the types of questions you can ask for
teaching the chants in Unit 4: When’s your birthday? – Lesson 2 – Part 6. Let’s
“ How many months are there in a year?”
“ What are they?”
“ What is the first/ second…. month of the year?”
“ Which month do you like best?”
Months of the year !
January, February, March.
Now it’s time to start.
April, May and June.
Sing a happy tune.
July, August, september.
Let’s play together.
October, November and December.
Remember, Remember, Remember.
Such questions tend to work really well as conversation starters, so group
three or four learners together and then get feedback from each group on their
thoughts. If you think it would help, make this your first step, i.e., before the
initial listening.
Alternatively, prior to having listened to the song you can teach a couple
of words and give a simple task for the first listening. My favourite strategy is to
give three or four words from the song and ask to them to listen out for the
words that rhyme with them. You could also brainstorm possible rhymes before

Step 3: Listen to the song again, this time with lyrics
This time, you should give learners the chance to read the lyrics to the
song. At this point you might do one or more of the following activities:
- Learners can just read the lyrics while they listen. They can possibly
highlight unknown words for later discussion.
- You can make a lyric worksheet as a gap fill; learners fill in the gaps
as they listen.
- You can make cut-out strips of selected missing words and again
make a lyric worksheet as a gap fill; this time learners match the word strips
to the gaps as they listen.
Step 4: Focus on a particular verb tense or aspect of grammar
Virtually every song centres on a particular verb tense. This is too good an
opportunity to pass up in terms of uncovering the grammar. My suggestion is to
start with questions such as these:
- After “ Let’s” is what types of verbs: Verb-ing, Verb-bare infinitive or
Verb-to infinitive ?
This acts as a springboard for discussing the function of a specific tense,
as well as examining its form. Furthermore, it often tends to raise awareness of
grammatical flexibility and ‘poetic licence’ in the construction of song lyrics.
Students often expect songs to obey the grammatical rules that have been
drummed into them. In a surprisingly large number of cases, this can lead to the
enlightening discovery that rules can be broken!
Step 5: Focus on vocabulary, idioms and expressions
We’ve noted that many songs bend the rules of grammar. It’s also useful
to focus on the creative and artistic use of vocabulary we encounter in lyrics.
Start with questions like these (again, for Queen’s classic song ‘We are the
- What does “ It’s time to start” mean?
- What does “ Let’s play together” mean?
- What does “ remember” mean?
Go through the meanings, illustrating with other examples if necessary.
Songs often serve as really good contexts for phrases and idioms, but it’s good
to make sure that the meaning is clear. As with grammar, years of
misunderstanding can come to light in this way!
Step 6: Round things off with some creativity
Creativity is an important part of maintaining motivation but it shouldn’t
be limited to the teaching approach. Depending on the factors highlighted in the
first part of this post (age, language level, cultural specifics, etc.), you might
want to try finishing things off with an activity that stimulates creative thought.
Here are a few examples of things you can do to get the creative juices flowing:
- Write another verse of lyrics, maintaining the same mood and style as
the original. This can be done individually or in groups. These new lyrics can be


presented to the rest of the class. Perhaps several groups can work on this to
come up with a completely new set of lyrics for the whole song.
- A song tends to give you the perspective of the singer. Write a response
(this can be a paragraph, i.e., not necessarily in lyric form) from the point of
view of the person the song is being sung about, or any other protagonist.
- Have the learners plan a music video for the song. In groups they decide
the location, the characters, and what happens. Then each group explains their
idea to the rest of the class and the learners vote on the best one. The results can
be surprising, as they frequently come up with an interpretation that hadn’t even
occurred to you!
2.4. The efficiency of the experience initiative.
After applying successfully the methods and procedures to teach sóng
and chants, the students’ improvement in speaking and listening skills can be
seen clearly. The result in the second semester of the school year 2018-2019
shows the increase in the percentage of students who can improve listening and
speaking skills sucessfully. What is especially pleasing is the impact of
pronunciation in class 3 as there are fewer students who can not pronounce
correctly than the beginning of the first semester. The significance of the
methods of teaching songs and chants can be seen when examining the
percentage of students with a reading age above their chronological age since
the program’s implementation. Comparing with the result survey at the
beginning, I find that the recent result is better than the old one. The following
chart will show the result:

The numbers
of students
16 = 36,4%

17 = 38,6%

8= 18,2%

3= 6,8%


To sum up, the improvement of the students’ skills has been a
resounding success. The consistency and clarity it has afforded in teaching songs
and chants for primary students has been worth the time and effort. My students
are capable and ready for explicit teaching of songs and chants are highly
motivated by their success in learning English. Just as we take great care in
decorating our classrooms to make them warm and conducive to learning, we
should think about how we are decorating our classrooms with audio. Learning a
foreign language can be stressful for anyone, especially young learners. Fun,
simple English songs and chants playing as students enter the classroom help
create a welcoming environment.The following photographs are linked with the
class’s atmosphere of which the photographs are to be found in the appendix.
3.1. Conclusion
Songs and chants have an important function in teaching English as a
foreign language in primary schools. Beside games and visual aids they support
by virtue of their typical characteristics the language acquisition for younger
learners. Songs and chants combine important didactic claims like the holistic,

the monolingual and the contextual approach with fun, activity and motivation.
Almost incidentally the children become familiar with parts of the foreign
culture and see them as enrichment for their own life.
According to the guidelines for teaching songs and chants and depending
on the concrete situation the teacher can vary the way of teaching these forms. It
should not be forgotten to back up the basic vocabulary before introducing a
song or chant or making sure that the content is understandable. The teacher
should provide different possibilities for the students to comprehend the text.
The English teacher can choose from among a lot of types of songs and
chants with special characteristics and different actions. Each teacher should
collect useful songs and chants on which he can fall back. If he or she knows the
possibilities to exploit these orms the teacher should be able to use songs and
chants successfully in English lessons.
We know from our experience that children love English songs and
chants. All teachers should see this big advantage and use songs and chants as an
permanent part of their English lessons not only in primary school.
We as teachers also enjoy singing, dancing and reciting with our children
in class because it gives us the chance to influence the children’s development in
a positive way and to intensify relationship to our children.
In conclusion, songs and chants make large vocabulary background, like
expressions and useful sentences. They help to develop listening and speaking
skill. Songs will help learners become familiar with word stress and intonation,
and the chants with which words are spoken or sung also helps memorization.
And once memorized, children repeat it again and again. They also hear
informal or colloquial English that they may encounter outside the classroom
and they become familiar with parts of the foreign culture, seeing it as
enrichment for their own life.
Affectively, it is good to stimulate children’s interest in the new language,
to bring fun and variety to learning, to provide a relaxed atmostphere, to
motivate to learn to be active, to give an encouragement, even children are shy
or slow learning, coming out and losing their embarrassment.
“ Children are active learners and thinkers.” (Piaget, 19701)
“ Children learn through social interaction.” (Vygotsky, 1962)
“ Do not train children to learn by force and harsness, but direct them to
it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with
accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each. (Plato).
This research investigated the methods of teaching songs and chants for
primary students, lesson delivery and sequence of content and learning
expectations used by teachers of English at Quang Phu Primary School. This
research brings broader understanding of strategies for teaching songs and
chants to students whose first language is not English. The rationale for the
study stems from the need to gain greater international perspective of the


teaching of English learners. Results reflect analysis of classroom observation
field notes of forty - four students of class 4A.
To sum up, the research provides some methods to improve teaching
songs and chants for primary students in order to form the habit of using English
words that contributes to improve the quality of students' skills in particular and
English for academic subjects in general. This research does reveal some
promising practices but more research is needed.
3.2. Suggestion
To the leaders:
To enhance the capacity of teachers in teaching English, the leaders
should organize the training courses for the English teachers regularly. Through
the training courses, teachers have the opportunity to exchange and learn their
I am grateful to the Ministry of Education and Training for publishing the
book Tieng Anh 3,4,5; for valuable discussions and innovative ideas and
techniques of teaching songs and chants during the program. I would also like to
thank the experts of Thanh Hoa City Education and Training Office, my
colleagues at Quang Phu Primary School, for providing helpful comments for
the research.
Finally, I would like to encourage Vietnamese teachers to have more
confidence in teaching English songs and chants even though we are not native
speakers of English. With full advanced preparation, including practicing
English and designing effective teaching activities, we can all be experts in
teaching English.
Sincerely thank you!
Certified by the Principal
Quang Phu, April 10th 2019
I declare that this is my experienced
initiative. I do not copy the other
person's content .
Written by
Dam Thuy Dung
1. Vietnamese Educational Publisher - Tieng Anh 4 (2017). Ministry of
Education and Training.
2. Murphey, T. (1992). Music and song. Oxford University Press.
3. Harmer, J. (2003). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow:
4. Graham, C. (1992). Singing, chanting, telling tales. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall,


5. Grant, L. (1993). Well said: Advanced English pronunciation. MA: Heinle &
6. Lo, R & Li, H.C. (1998). Songs enhance learner involvement. English
Teaching Forum, 36,8-11,21.
7. Saricoban, A & Metin, E. (2000). Songs, verse and games for teaching
grammar, The Internet TESL Journal. Retrieved 11 th January 2011 from
8. Halliwell, S. Teching English in the primary classroom (1992) Longman
Group UK Limited.
9. Richard, J. C, and T.S.Rodgers. (2001). Approaches and methods in language
teaching, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
10. Phillips, S.(1993). Young learners. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
11. http://learnenglishkids.bri
12. https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/songs
13. https://www.lingokids.com › English for Kids › Songs
14. kids-songs.tv/
15. https://agendaweb.org/songs/english-songs-for-kids.html

Họ tên tác giả: Đàm Thùy Dung
Chức vụ công tác: - Tổ phó Tổ Đặc thù
- Trường TH Quảng Phú – TP Thanh Hóa



Tên đề tài SKKN


Biện pháp để phát triển
kỹ năng nghe và nói cho
học sinh lớp 3 thông qua
bài hội thoại.
Kinh nghiệm dạy bài hội
thoại nhằm phát triển kỹ
năng nghe và nói cho
học sinh lớp 3.
Experiences in teaching
pronunciation for
primary student.
Experiences in teaching
pronunciation for
primary student.



Cấp đánh giá
Kết quả đánh
XL(Ngành GD
giá xếp loại
cấp Huyện/Tỉnh; (A, B hoặc C)
Phòng GD&ĐT
Quảng Xương

Năm học
đánh giá
xếp loại
2009 - 2010

Thanh Hóa


2009 - 2010

Phòng GD&ĐT
TP Thanh Hóa



Thanh Hóa






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