Our research interests include using music in the English classroom to accelerate English language development. Our aim is to help our students achieve a high level of English proficiency in as short a time as possible.
We want to find ways to accelerate our students’ English language acquisition so they can progress to their mainstream studies quickly yet with well developed English skills. This interest has been formalised into a research project led by Mr John Leigh. A former music teacher and now teaching English in our SSPP program, Mr Leigh has had a long interest in the way music could be used to aid English language development.
When he was a child Mr Leigh had the experience of learning four languages where some music-based activities were used. While learning the two classical languages of Latin and Greek, he experienced music-based activities which reinforced grammar skills. During his career as a Primary and Secondary classroom teacher, music specialist and tertiary lecturer, Mr Leigh observed firsthand the effectiveness of music for enriching and enhancing learning.
For several years Mr Leigh and the team of International College teachers have been engaged in an action research project into the use of music in the English language classroom to accelerate learning. This project has attracted interest and support from Independent Schools Queensland and from several academics, notably Dr Margaret Fletcher from Griffith University who has given us a great deal of advice, assistance and training in action research methodology.
The research team has created and trialled music-based activities for use in English language classrooms with the following results:
- Students have learned grammatical concepts more quickly
- Students have developed better control of English speech rhythms
- Students’ reading comprehension skills have improved
- Students have developed increased confidence as English users
- Students have enjoyed classes where music resources were used
- The classroom environment has been less stressful
It is an established fact that learning is optimised when the student is happy and relaxed. On the other hand, students who are nervous, tense and stressed are not able to learn effectively. Consequently, the use of music to create a happy, relaxed classroom environment contributes to the students’ success.