Singing and arts activities in support of foreign language learning: An exploratory study

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Abstract

Educators have reported that incorporating the arts into the classroom can support foreign language (FL) learning. However, there is very little empirical evidence from the classroom to support this claim. This exploratory, quasi-experimental arts intervention study was conducted with native English speakers aged 12-13 years old as part of their beginning-level French instruction. For a total of 8.5 hours over a 6-week period, one group had their French lessons supplemented with singing and song activities, while the second had their French lessons supplemented with visual art and drama activities. French language performance was assessed by comparing each student’s scores on curriculum-based language tests that were administered before and after the arts intervention program. Both groups showed large gains in overall French test scores, p < .01. Repeated-measures ANOVA showed a significant effect of the method of instruction on overall French test scores (p < .05), with the greatest pre- to post-test percentage improvements occurring in the class that engaged in additional singing and song-related activities. This study adds to our understanding of how musical and arts activities can support foreign language learning and suggests that it is valuable to conduct future research studies in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-386
Number of pages16
JournalInnovation in Language Learning and Teaching
Volume12
Issue number4
Early online date21 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Foreign languages
  • arts intervention
  • singing
  • visual art
  • drama
  • adolescents

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