“Swing low, sweet chariot” african-american spiritual song english through songs and their cultural background (teacher’s notes)

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English Through Songs and their Cultural Background (Teacher’s Notes)

Mario Andújar García 27/1/2007

Publicado en: http://www.cursoshomologados.com/cursos/escb_trabajos_alumnos.htm

First of all, I would like to point out that this particular didactic unit is focused on the last stage of Secondary Education and hasbeen mainly designed for first year Bachillerato students. In this sense, the materials have been provided in accordance with the level of English these students are expected to deal with and command. The basic framework on which I have constructed these listening activities can be divided into three main stages:

1. Pre listening, during which I will help students prepare to listen.

•Motivation: select a text that they will find interesting (slavery in the US) • Contextualisation: design tasks that will help students to contextualise the listening. The idea is to gain access to their existing knowledge and expectations to help them understand the text. • Preparation: explain vocabulary or expressions that students will need. • Extra-curricular topics: include ideas such as freedom,equal rights, diversity and equality as part of the knowledge students will have access to. • Interdisciplinary aim: explain students how this particular song might help them consolidate aspects belonging to the area of Spanish language, e.g., literary resources such as rhythm, metaphors or comparisons.

In this stage we can find two sorts of activities: ‘multiple choice’ and ‘fillin the gaps’. The former is based on four texts about the treatment of slaves, AfricanAmerican spiritual songs, the meaning of such songs and an example of them, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. The latter deals with a curious phenomenon: the adoption of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” as the hymn of English rugby supporters.

Students will have to read carefully these texts in order to find the specificinformation and answer both sorts of activities. The correct understanding of the content of theses texts requires patience, so I will encourage students to read slowly and not to worry about time.

Publicado en: http://www.cursoshomologados.com/cursos/escb_trabajos_alumnos.htm

With these pre-listening activities, students will have access to the social and cultural background necessary tounderstand the lyrics of the song as well as think about concepts such as segregation or equal rights.

2. While listening, during which I would help to focus their attention on the listening text and guide the development of their understanding of it.


The song will be played several times and students will have to cope with a ‘fill in the gaps’ exercise. Once every student hasfinished the exercise, the song will be played again so that they can confirm their answers.

In order to succeed in carrying out this activity, it is necessary to bear in mind the following steps:

1. It is important to help students prepare for the listening task, ensure that the students understand the language to complete the task and are fully aware of exactly what is expected of them.Reassure the students that they do not need to understand every word they hear.

2. During the listening the students should be able to concentrate on understanding the message without trying to read, draw, and write at the same time. Always give a second or third chance to listen to the text to provide a new opportunity to those who were not able to do the task.

3. Finally, when students havecompleted the activity, invite answers from the whole class. Try not to press individual students. Play the cassette again and allow students to listen again for confirmation. List the answers and let them choose the correct one. Listen to the text once more and tell them to check their answers for themselves.

Publicado en: http://www.cursoshomologados.com/cursos/escb_trabajos_alumnos.htm...
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