Teaching English Through Music: GITC Music Integration at Fay Elementary School
Jennifer originally started with GITC in 2010, after seeing an email sent to her school about the organization. She had grown up surrounded by music and even pursued various classes on different instruments, but hadn’t fulfilled her desire to play guitar until starting with GITC. She took a break after a year and a half with the organization, then rejoined with Rosanna 2 years ago.
Rosanna shares that she too had always wanted to play guitar but struggled in classes she took. However, the GITC instruction was a game-changer for her playing, “With Jess’ method, I realized, ‘I can so do this!’ Whereas with other classes I’ve been to it was so overwhelming and very difficult … Jess breaks it down in very manageable steps.”
“The language learners … are kids that don’t really speak and they don’t want to say anything. But when we start singing, more of them want to sing. I do see them talk more through music … They learn the vocabulary faster … The music really brings that vocabulary alive,” says Jennifer. Music allows language learners to retain new words and ideas more quickly in a way that is interactive and enjoyable. Their participation dramatically increases in lessons that are taught through music. Rosanna shares that her more advanced ELD students also love music integration, “And it’s not just the beginners. I have the early/advanced kids and they also are so engaged.”
The change Jennifer and Rosanna have seen in their students has made music integration one of the best tools in their classroom. When asked what advice they would give teachers interested in GITC and music integration, they both urge, “Just do it!” They are very familiar with the nervousness that can come with leading a classroom in a music lesson, however, both agree that the benefit outweighs the fear. Rosanna shares, ““The kids love it and they don’t care if you’re a beginning singer like me!” The kids enjoy the music no matter how you sound, and the difference it makes could be life-changing.
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