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The Effectiveness of Teaching Vocabulary through English Song

Updated on November 1, 2011

The Effectiveness of Teaching Vocabulary through English Song for Indonesian Students

For schools in Indonesia, vocabulary is one of the language component that undirected teaching learning. It includes in four of skill of language; listening, speaking, reading and writing. In a formal school the chance of practicing English is not much. In the formal school the students usually study the theory but seldom practice. So to get more, the teacher has to be creative for looking for the new techniques to improve student’s vocabulary so they get more interesting in receiving the material.

In daily communication, listening is the first language skill that should be owned by students at any level because there are many topics being heard when people interact one to another. To listen necessary, so that communication can be understood and meaningful. Listening to English songs constantly can be an alternative way to start a new habit to get new vocabulary. This method not only fun but also authentic, it is one of the best ways to introduce new vocabulary.

Unconsciously, we have often heard songs throughout our lives. Songs become a part of human experiences for as long as we can remember. We can listen to the songs wherever we are, and whenever we think or whatever we do. Songs are easy to find, we listen superficially on television, tape, computer or while walking at the market. We use songs as background to activities such as studying, jogging, driving a car, typing, washing, even more imaging and those becomes familiar to the ears. Songs have great tendency to attract attention of the students. Listening to the songs is also fun, in accordance with improving vocabulary it can be great help. At the time we listen to the music automatically we can sing it together with the singer of the songs. It means at once we practice our listening; we catch new words we never heard before. Songs are extremely adaptable and can suit any age, sex, taster, mood or level of ability. Why we should use songs, the answer for this question for one reason is that the students need something fun and easy to access the vocabulary quickly when it is required to use. The techniques of teaching vocabulary like substitution drills and memorizing words do not make students interested in English lesson. The kinds of these exercises also make the students passive in developing sentences. So they are not interested in studying more and there is improvement in vocabulary.

Another reason for using songs in teaching vocabulary that music is effective and helpful in teaching learning process. Teacher however must look for more effective technique to make learning vocabulary easier and more pleasant so the students become easier in understanding and learning English.

Based on the fact above, it is necessary and important for anyone who concerns in teaching English to find out the easier technique which can improve student’s motivation for improving their vocabulary. To solve this problem, the writer in this regards tries to offer and alternative solution in teaching vocabulary which aims to derive meaning with the help the songs and lyrics. Songs and lyrics are provided as a tool to predict the sentence so that the students can glean the meaning of particular sentence with their own interpretation. By using this technique the teacher just becomes the facilitator of the students because the teacher lets the students read and comprehend the lyrics as the text consisting of new words.

1. Technique in Teaching Vocabulary

We choose a set of words to work it. These could be preposition, prefixes, suffixes, phrasal verb (e.g., the preposition: against or the suffix – full).

  1. We ask the students to forms groups and to think of many ways in which word can be used. In the case of against, for example, the students might be produce:
  1. it’s against the law
  2. it’s against my expectation
  3. I’m against your suggestion
  4. I’m not against what you say
  5. lean against the wall

c. we set a time limit and let students use their imagination by pooling their resources; they should be able to generate at least six or more examples.

d. we ask group to read out their examples. Give further explanation concerning usage. Correct any unacceptable explanation and give reason.

After all examples have been gathered, get the class to classify them into meaning groups or find underlying meaning of the item. The aim of the procedure is to develop knowledge of word forms and to extend the range of meaning for known words.

From the explanation above it shows that to choose the commonest words or to use word building or use student’s language or use related structure or even student’s need will take place of the useful one in students mind.

Those above are some other alternative ways in teaching vocabulary. The last technique that is mentioned in the list is the way that the writer will try applicant in his research using songs as the media.

2. The Processes of Teaching Vocabulary by Using English Song

Below are the steps by steps procedures in applying English song as media in teaching vocabulary. The strategy is used in the experiment class. Before starting the class activity by using song, the writer should be will prepared. She needs to select the song that fit to her especially to the students. It means, she should consider the age and interest of students in correlation with song which will be given in the class. The steps of teaching vocabulary by using songs were stated below:

  1. The teacher hands out the lyric of song to the students or write it in the board
  2. Then the teacher explains the meaning of lyrics and tells the way how to pronounce it.
  3. The teacher asks the students to read the text aloud.
  4. Let’s the students listen to the songs tree times. the first time students purely listen, the second time sing with the tape, and the last time sing without tape
  5. Ask the students to do exercise

Based on the steps above, the writer supposes the following activities to be applied in the class room. First, she hands out the lyrics of the songs or writes them on the board. Second, she explains the meaning of song and lets the students to know the meaning of each word. Third, she plays or sings the songs many times. Fourth, she lets the students know how to pronounce the words of the song correctly. Fifth, she gives the students an example of the way how to sing the song. Eighth, she asks the students to repeat the song using right pronunciation after her. After mastering the intonation of the song, she asks the students to sing the song together. After that she asks the students to sing the song by themselves. The last is teacher asks the students exercises related to the songs.


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