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Are the Beatles good for English teaching?

I often get customers who want to know what lines from Beatles songs mean. Does anyone else get this? Some of their later stuff can be quite challenging!

On the one hand, it's good that customers have found a hook to hang their interest in the language on. But is it always a good idea to use song texts?

Am spending the afternoon actively listening to John, Paul, Ringo and George in the hope of finding some answers.

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Comment by Sue Lyon-Jones on February 21, 2010 at 8:41am
Sure; though I think I get what you mean, anyway. I mainly write for an adult ESOL audience. Had I created this as an activity for young learners, I may well have put it together differently - although I find that even adult learners are not above cheating sometimes with interactive quizzes!

If you email me, I'll send you the hotpotatoes (jcloze)quiz file & the link to the youtube video I used.

Comment by Olaf Elch on February 21, 2010 at 7:03am
Hi Sue

I like the exercise in itself, but I'm not keen on exercises where it's relatively simple to "cheat". I'd use this for adults, but not in a school setting (where kids are often solely focused on getting the right answer).

Would you mind if I copied the materials and built them into a Camtasia module? That way I can show you better what I mean.

Comment by Sue Lyon-Jones on February 21, 2010 at 4:58am
Hi Olaf,

I think Beatles songs (or indeed any songs) can be good for teaching English, provided that:

1) The language is pitched to the right level for the group of learners you are teaching;

2) The song relates to the language point you are aiming to teach; and

3) The vocabulary used within the song (or at least most of it) is useful and relevant.

For illustration, see this quiz I've done on my website on "Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds":

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds - Prepositions Gap Fill Quiz

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts as to whether you think it works or not.



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