I am sure I am not the only languages teacher to have been asked by his students about songs and charts in the target country. I think that having songs in the classroom is a great way to get the students interested in our subject. There are different reasons for this.
First, if the tune is catchy enough and the students like it, they might listen to it again at home or even download the song and therefore do extra listening practice. They might also want to understand the lyrics or even sing along!
Secondly, music is a great tool to give our students a taste of the target culture. As discussed in this previous post (motivé(es)), the cultural dimension has a crucial impact on motivation. We all want to develop in our students the ‘integrative orientation’ that Gardner was talking about. To achieve this we want to introduce our students to singers that will possibly trigger their interest ad curiosity.
Notice: Even though I do not deny the power of made-up songs, I am not a massive fan of them as they don’t have the cultural dimension that authentic songs have.
This post is a non-exhaustive list of songs in French that can be used in the classroom, the Key Stage they would be more appropriate with and the overall topic of the song.
For KS3, the range of songs is more limited as the knowledge of the students is quite limited itself. However, it is crucial to use songs with them as they are our potential KS4 students and we want them, first to choose a language at KS4, and secondly to be as motivated as possible. It could be a good idea to keep up to date with the French charts and share them (once a month?) with these groups. Stromae , Maitre Gims or Sexion D’Assaut are good examples for this category. They are very popular at the moment in France and have a great potential to interest our students.
So here is the list:
Amadou et Mariam:
Sénegal Fastfood / Francophonie / KS3
Beaux Dimanches /Francophonie / KS3
Pépètes / money / KS5
L’Apologie / Health and drugs / KS4/5
Te quiero / any Key stage, he is just too cool!
Alors on danse/ any Key stage
Tous les mêmes / Relationships/ KS4/5
Papaoutai / relationships / KS4/5
Quand c’est ? / health / KS4/5
Tiken Jah Fakoly
Y’en a marre / social / KS5
Le pays va mal / social / KS5
Ouvrez les frontières / immigration / KS4/5
Africain à Paris / immigration / KS4/5
La Main Verte / Health and drugs / KS4/5
L’hymne de nos campagnes / local area / KS4/5
La valise / Clothes / KS3
This is, as I mentioned earlier, a non-exhaustive list. I am sure we can all think about other songs that work well in the classroom. Feel free to comment to this post with any suggestions, as the purpose of this post is to give each other ideas on how we can improve our practice.