Workshop 2A
Title: Jazz it up, teacher! Music Club promotes pronunciation, fluency and off-beat engagement in an ELT classroom

In a time when students are looking for ‘more bang for their buck’ and  English language providers  are competing against cheaper options offshore, what can we as regular teachers be doing to energetically ‘value-add’ to our regular programs in a stimulating and pedagogically rewarding way? 

At Macquarie University’s English Language Centre, a pilot has been run to look at student perceptions of their own improvement in pronunciation and fluency through voluntary participation in a Music Club, run during class time. The aims of the club are simple:  to improve students’ pronunciation and fluency and increase their contact with other non-native speakers of English through a variety of musically-based activities. While much has been written on the link between music and language development, this small study shows a positive correlation between student enjoyment of learning through music and student perceptions of their own language development.  Before and after surveys of the students show Music Club to be a highlight of their learning, not only improving pronunciation and fluency but also addressing socio-cultural needs. Student perceptions and outcomes of the Music Club will be presented, and teachers will be encouraged to participate in, adopt and adapt simple activities of rhythm and song.

With more enthusiasm than skill, Barbara Craig has dabbled with and listened to music for most of her life. Having briefly taught high school English and Music, she has been teaching ESOL for many years, the last 10 of which have been at Macquarie University's English Language Centre where she is Head of Academic Programs.

Sandra Pitronaci has been playing the guitar rather poorly for 22 years. As a clear lack of talent prohibited her from any musical career, she instead trained as a LOTE and ESL secondary teacher, where captive audiences were easier to come by. She has spent time teaching in Australia and overseas in various schools, colleges and universities, and is currently torturing students at Macquarie University English Language Centre where she is Senior Teacher - Programs.