The effects of music on English language learners' speaking fluency and on their motivation
Sağlam, Emine Buket
Aydınlı, Julie Mathews
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Music has, so far, been noted to be beneficial in education. There have been some experimental studies that look at the effects of music on reading, vocabulary, and conversational skills in teaching foreign languages. However, there have been no studies searching for the effects of music in the arena of learners’ speaking fluency as well as their motivation/interest level. In this respect, several questions arose: Can music be a salient factor in the teaching of language skills, particularly speaking? Can music be a tool to enhance students’ capacity for speaking fluency? On a less direct but arguably even more important level for second language learning, can music play a role in improving students’ motivation/interest in language learning contexts? The purpose of this study was therefore to explore the above questions and, based on their answers, to guide English language teachers in their thinking about the use of songs in the classroom, both as a means of enhancing learners’ abilities to speak fluently and as a motivating tool. The data used in this study were obtained from 46 pre-intermediate level students studying at the School of Basic English (SOBE) at Karadeniz Technical University (KTU). The major instruments in the research were the tests that were used to measure the students’ speaking fluency, and the questionnaire given to assess the students’ motivation/interest levels for learning English. An interview with the teacher who taught both groups was another instrument. The reflections from the participants in the treatment group were also used for evaluating their thoughts with respect to the contributions of music to their speaking lessons. The data collected from the questionnaire and the oral assessments were analyzed using t-tests. Both the data gathered from the interview and the reflections from the students were analyzed based on the approaches of qualitative data analysis. In this study, descriptive analysis was also used for analyzing both the data collected from the interview and the students’ reflections. According to the results of the pre-test scores for oral assessment, the speaking fluency level of the contrast group was higher than the treatment group (6.83-5.27) whereas the motivation/interest level of both groups was approximately the same. After the treatment, although both groups’ motivation/interest scores actually decreased, the decrease in motivation/interest levels of the treatment group was observed to be significantly less than that of the contrast group. Post-test results for the oral assessment scores of both groups again showed those of the contrast group remaining slightly higher than those of the treatment group, but no longer significantly higher (7.92-7.42).