Investigating the use of songs, rhymes and stories in primary EFL teaching
Annett Schäfer, Friday 16.00-16.30

This presentation aims to give an insight into the situation of EFL teaching at primary schools in Rhineland Palatinate/Germany. The concept to teach French or English at primary school children is still novel to many primary school teachers. The policy was fully implemented in 2004/2005, and all primary school teachers are now obliged to integrate foreign language teaching into their daily routine.
Stories, rhymes and songs have often been regarded as a valuable contribution to the primary learning environment. Storytelling especially has been proven to support vocabulary learning in the L1. Which role can it play in foreign language teaching? How do teachers use these genres to encourage vocabulary learning? And in how far can storytelling prepare learners for extensive reading for pleasure?
Over the past two years quantitative and qualitative data have been collected to explore these questions. Data obtained from an initial questionnaire among local primary school teachers served as a starting point for further investigations. The questionnaire data indicate that songs, nursery rhymes and picture stories play a major part in the primary EFL classroom in the area.
Additional observations were conducted to investigate if teachers make conscious use of stories, rhymes and songs, and if singing or storytelling are “more carefully planned and structured events” (Cameron, 2001, p 31) and can function as language learning tasks.
In three intervals over the period of 15 months, more than 30 observations were conducted at one particular school. Spoken discourse during lessons was recorded and analysed to gain a better understanding of how teachers and learners deal with unknown words in songs and stories and if stories, rhymes and songs contribute to learners’ vocabulary growth.
Observational findings are complimented by data from learners’ portfolios as well as interviews with teachers and children. What emerges is a very detailed picture of one primary EFL teaching environment, which allows us to obtain a more thorough understanding of how songs, rhymes and stories work in primary EFL classrooms.

Biodata will follow shortly.