G5 Artikkeliväitöskirja
Songs and poems in the second language classroom. The hidden potential of singing for developing writing fluency

Julkaisun tekijät: Alisaari Jenni
Kustantaja: University of Turku
Paikka: Turku
Julkaisuvuosi: 2016
ISBN: 978-951-29-6672-1
eISBN: 978-951-29-6673-8


Despite various studies on the benefits of singing on language learning,
little is known about the relationship between singing and the
development of second language writing skills. Given that fluency is an
essential part of a language learner’s writing skills, it is important
to examine the effects of different pedagogical methods on its
development. In addition, since teachers’ beliefs influence their
language teaching practice, it is beneficial to examine what beliefs
teachers hold about language teaching methods. Little is known about
language teachers’ practice using songs and poems in their language
classrooms. Due to the beneficial effects of singing on language
learning, it is reasonable to investigate whether teachers use songs in
language teaching.

Study 1 examined how singing, listening to songs and reciting poems
or song lyrics as language teaching methods affect the development of
second language learners’ writing fluency. Participants in this study
were 51 language learners enrolled in two intensive Finnish language
courses. The participants’ language proficiency level was A2. Written
stories based on cartoon strips were used as a pretest and a posttest to
collect the data. Their writing fluency was analyzed based on the
number of words used. The results indicate that fluency increased the
most in the singing groups and the least in the listening groups. There
was a statistically significant difference between the singing group and
the group reciting lyrics, as well as between the group listening to
songs and the group reciting lyrics.

Study 2 investigated how singing, listening to songs, and reciting
poems or song lyrics as teaching methods affect the writing fluency of
Finnish learners (n=32) on language proficiency level A2.1.
Additionally, it was investigated how the development of fluency is
related to the students’ experiences of the teaching methods used and
their preferred methods of studying Finnish. In this study, fluency was
investigated by measuring the number of words, as well as number of
words in T-units, correct T-units and clauses in stories written in a
pre-test and a post-test. Fluency increased the most in the singing
group, and the least in the reciting group. There was a statistically
significant difference between the singing group and the reciting group,
as well as between the reciting group and the listening group. The
students in the singing group had the most positive attitudes toward
their teaching method, and writing fluency increased the most in the
texts of students who reported studying Finnish either by speaking or
listening to it.

Study 3 examined Finnish language teachers’ beliefs and practices
related to singing, listening to songs, and reciting poems as teaching
methods, and whether their teaching practices were congruent with their
beliefs. Teachers viewed all three techniques as highly beneficial for
language learning. Singing and reciting poems were considered the most
suitable for teaching pronunciation, and listening to songs was
considered the most suitable for introducing topics. For teachers who
reported using particular techniques, their practice was supported by
their beliefs. However, overall, reported teaching practices did not
completely align with teachers’ stated beliefs.

In total, the results of this thesis indicate that singing is a
beneficial and positively viewed pedagogical method for language
learning and teaching. Singing was more beneficial for developing
writing fluency, measured by number of the words used, than listening to
songs or reciting poems, and students considered singing to be the most
positive method among the three teaching methods studied. Teachers also
had highly positive beliefs about all three methods. However, they
reported using them only seldom or never, listening to songs being an
exception even though this method was also reportedly used seldom or

These findings have implications for teacher training and future
research. Further, the contribution of this thesis lies in combination
with the theoretical knowledge of the field of second language
acquisition through the use of songs, especially singing, in language
classrooms. In sum, it could be argued that singing as a language
teaching method takes into account not just the technical aspects of a
language, but also the dispositions of the learners and how they respond
to different types of input. This thesis argues that using singing more
comprehensively and in a more goal driven fashion for language teaching
should be recommended for language teachers.

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 23:11