Music, creativity, and English Language Learners

Children naturally engage in creative activities: from storytelling to singing to dancing to turning a shoebox into a submarine, doll bed, or even another planet. An often-quoted IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the number one “leadership competency” of the future. Albert Einstein also understood the importance of creativity when he said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” So, how do we foster creativity in young children that sustains through adulthood?

Music and teaching English to children supports creativity

Einstein playing a guitar

Einstein often used music as a creative way to solve complex problems. He believed, “The greatest scientists are artists as well.” Playing an instrument, singing with others, and dancing to music all support a child’s creative process and encourages individual expression and exploratory behavior. Learning a second (or third!) language can also foster creativity. In fact, research indicates that bilinguals tend to be more creative thinkers and perform better in problem-solving skills than those who speak only one language.
An article published in the Early Childhood Education Journal, “Using Music to Support the Literacy Development of Young English Language Learners,” reviews current research to highlight some of the reasons why music can effectively be used when teaching English to children.

8 reasons to use music with ELL students

  1. A child’s initial introduction to patterned text often occurs first in songs, chants, and rhymes, which can lead to greater understanding of print concepts.
  2. Songs present opportunities for developing automaticity in the language process. The repetitive nature of many children’s songs helps ELL students learn the language as they hear words and phrases repeated.
  3. Music can be integrated throughout the day in the classroom and at home to develop and to extend vocabulary and comprehension skills.
  4. Music can improve listening and oral language skill development, improve attention and memory, and enhance abstract thinking.
  5. Music enriches ELL students’ creativity and cultural awareness.
  6. Songs can be used to practice and reinforce consonant sounds.
  7. Songs can teach a variety of language skills, such as sentence patterns, vocabulary, pronunciation, rhythm, and parts of speech.
  8. Music is a way for children to experience rich language in a fun way.

English Language Learners curriculum uses music

Created by Kindermusik International, ABC English & Me uses music and movement to teach English to speakers of other languages that meets the TESOL curriculum standards for Pre-K. This beginners program for English Language Learners combines our extensive experience in early childhood education with the latest research on learning a foreign language.

Get more info on teaching English to children around the world with Kindermusik and ABC English & Me.

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