What is the most effective way of keeping new information in the memory, while also aiding its immediate retrieval?
It can be incredibly frustrating to find children who know the lyrics of pop songs by heart, and yet can’t recall what they learned in school yesterday.
However, the fact that the lyrics of a song are much easier for children to remember than straightforward text, arises because music tends to be processed by the right hemisphere of the brain, while words are processed in the left hemisphere.
Thus, when we have a song to learn we tend to engage both sides of the brain, rather than just one part of it, and hence the learning is much faster and is retained much more readily.
This is indeed the reason that songs have their power, irrespective of the music involved. For this effect occurs as much with nursery rhymes, as patriotic anthems and popular songs.
The use of both sides of the brain also explains why, when children are asked to learn a catchy tune they can do so, very quickly. What’s more, for most children learning a song becomes more fun than learning a phrase without music.
Better still, when children sing and dance along with the video of a simple song in French, not only does their pronunciation improve but their recall is heightened. And of course, they are more likely to take their new-found knowledge home and perform the song to parents, which can also be helpful.
Furthermore, when the phrases within the song have been selected with the MFL curriculum in mind, children become able to recall the phrases they need, meaning non-specialist teachers are able to focus on the teaching and learning, rather than their own pronunciation.
And if each of the songs is based on a different phoneme from the French language, then teachers can focus on getting their pupils to learn a specific phonic sound and its correct pronunciation whilst having fun.
As a result, oral, writing, listening and reading skills and, above all, confidence and motivation to communicate in French increase, all gained from the speed at which the learning takes place.
This approach of speeding up learning French using songs can be found in “21 Fun Songs to Teach French Phonics”. Follow the link to find sample song videos to sing along to.
This invaluable resource which comes as a book with the songs, videos and other resources on a USB drive.
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