Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Songs for Learning English" from VOA.




This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

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Songs teach language. Consider a song like "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega. An American teaching English overseas once told us that students love it.

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Recently we asked people on Facebook to suggest other songs that English learners might like.

Noemi Nito wrote: I'm one of those English students who love "Tom's Diner." I started learning English with "Lemon Tree" by Fool's Garden.

Another person, Asi Tambunan, suggested the song "God Only Knows" by Orianthi.

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Gyongyi Jako wrote that ABBA's songs from Sweden are perfect for class work. Also, the Beatles and John Lennon, as well as Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World."

Paul Cifuentes says Bob Marley's songs are amazing for teaching. But another teacher, Joseph Deka, says songs by Johnny Cash have always worked in his classroom. He says his students can hear the words, plus the songs often have stories. But he says young children love "C Is for Cookie" by Cookie Monster from the TV show "Sesame Street."

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Aurelio Lourenco Costa Gusmao says he began to like English after his teacher played the Westlife song "I Have a Dream": That was eight years ago. I was in the seventh grade. And from that day on, my dream of improving my English skills became attached in my mind.

Teachers can use this song to convey the message to their students that they should have their own dream for the future.

Aurelio's story was no surprise to another commenter, Katie Kivenko: When you listen to your favorite songs, you feel emotionally high and it moves you to action.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report. You can share other music suggestions for English learners at voaspecialenglish.com or on Facebook at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember.

TOM'S DINER - SUZANNE VEGA



"Tom's Diner"

I am sitting
In the morning
At the diner
On the corner

I am waiting
At the counter
For the man
To pour the coffee

And he fills it
Only halfway
And before
I even argue

He is looking
Out the window
At somebody
Coming in

"It is always
Nice to see you"
Says the man
Behind the counter

To the woman
Who has come in
She is shaking
Her umbrella

And I look
The other way
As they are kissing
Their hellos

I'm pretending
Not to see them
Instead
I pour the milk

I open
Up the paper
There's a story
Of an actor

Who had died
While he was drinking
It was no one
I had heard of

And I'm turning
To the horoscope
And looking
For the funnies

When I'm feeling
Someone watching me
And so
I raise my head

There's a woman
On the outside
Looking inside
Does she see me?

No she does not
Really see me
Cause she sees
Her own reflection

And I'm trying
Not to notice
That she's hitching
Up her skirt

And while she's
Straightening her stockings
Her hair
Has gotten wet

Oh, this rain
It will continue
Through the morning
As I'm listening

To the bells
Of the cathedral
I am thinking
Of your voice...

And of the midnight picnic
Once upon a time
Before the rain began...

I finish up my coffee
It's time to catch the train.

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