Cate presents her research at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) conference

Sep 09, 2022

On Wednesday Cate presented her research that investigates the evidence base for using songs with young language learners at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) conference in Liverpool. It was a fab opportunity to connect with researchers and teachers from around the world.

We had an interesting discussion about the issues in this research field where there is a strong bias towards finding positive results for using songs for learning languages in class, but the majority of research that has been conducted so far is not very reliable (see those big bubbles on the graph? That's the positively biased, but unreliable group of papers bottom right). 

It's an interesting project because lots of claims are made about songs' effectiveness for learning beyond music itself (e.g. vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation), but actually when we analyse results from studies that have been rigorously conducted, there isn't a clear answer either way (you can see the top line of bubbles is smaller, and more equally split, on the graph). 

It's getting curiouser and curiouser! Could the idea that "songs are great for foreign language learning" simply be a "folk pedagogy" passed down through generations of practitioners, or will we be able to produce trustworthy empirical evidence to underpin this valued teaching practice? Stay tuned to find out (like, in a couple of years, when Cate has finished her PhD! 😉😂😅

What we can say for now is that we love teaching and learning languages through songs, and if songs are motivating us to spend more time exploring new languages, that's a great thing for language learning! More time spent = more learning, which is why we advocate for dipping in little and often. At the moment no one can definitely claim that singing is better than any other methods.

We are committed to sharing the REAL research with you, not just saying whatever suits us for marketing purposes (which let's face it, would be way easier right?!). Hope you enjoyed that little update. Let us know what you think - pop a comment in the community pages - we'd love to discuss! 

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