Califone guest blog – first in an occasional series.
Studying for eight hours every day can be tiresome. Most students find it increasingly difficult to focus on lectures as their minds wander off to dwell on other classes or events. That is why classrooms must become engaging again, and media players can help.
Play classical music in the background while students read or write silently
1. Play classical music in the background while students read or write silently. Classical music has been linked with activating certain parts of the brain, making it easier for students to soak in information. While playing the music alone does not guarantee that students will learn, it will help them to focus and absorb slightly more than if they were not listening to anything. Avoid playing popular music with vocals because this may be distracting if the students know the words and hum along. The point of background music is for it to fade behind everything else, almost as if the students are unaware that they are listening to music at all as they work. By the same token, do not play the music too loud, otherwise it will disrupt the learning process. Studies have suggested that music with 60 beats per minute, such as Mozart’s compositions and baroque music, are the most effective “brain activators.”
2. Show clips of film, stage, or television adaptations of books the students have read. Some students do not enjoy reading because they have a difficult time imagining the scenes in their minds. Showing clips of some adaptations that have been done of the assigned readings can help those students put faces to the characters, making the reading process more enjoyable. In addition, showing clips can open an insightful discussion into how the film adaptation differs from the book. Take the opportunity to ask students which characterizations they prefer and why, and whether the film differed from how they imagined the story when reading.
Language students can learn a song in that language
3. Language students can learn a song in that language. Find a simple, catchy song in the language the students are learning and pass out lyrics sheets around the class. Make it a goal to learn the entire song in a week, and play a part of the song every class for students to hear and attempt to sing along to. The exercise will be fun and a great chance for students to practice their pronunciation as well as reading in the language. It would be best to choose a relatively short song, though, so that the students do not become too sick of the song before finishing it.
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This post was contributed by Donna Scott, who writes about the online college. She welcomes your feedback at DonnaScott9929@yahoo.com
Read the next guest blog by ESL teacher Shelly Terrell.