Music and MEXT: How songs can help primary school English teachers teach and their students learn

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James York, Tokyo Denki University



In this paper, I address Japanese primary school teachers who may find themselves having to teach English for the first time as a result of MEXT’s plan to introduce compulsory English education in primary schools nationwide. I propose that using music and singing in such contexts is beneficial for both students and teachers. For students, I argue that music has positive effects on lowering the affective filter, provides the opportunity to practice pronunciation, can help improve acquisition of the target language, and can assist in the development of automaticity. For teachers, the paper provides practical lesson ideas separated into speaking and listening language skills. I also provide an overview of how specific songs may be incorporated into the fifth-grade English syllabus proposed by MEXT.


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