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La La Land ESL
When I saw La La Land last week, I knew I had to teach some of the songs in my English class. What a beautiful musical!
Yes, I use songs in my ESL and English classes. Yes, I use them for adults, too!
Seriously?!, you may be thinking, how does that work? Well, let me show you!
If you’re part of the Teaching Cove community, you’ve already received my awesome freebie Lesson Plan for Somewhere In The Crowd, one of my favourite songs from the musical. It’ll be up in the printables library  with the February Printables Pack next week, too.
Free Printables Library

How To Use Songs In Your ESL Class


1) Gap fill lyrics (listening comprehension)

Actually, I find songs to be some of the best ways to learn new vocabulary in context. Since great melodies stick  in your head, your students will remember the words faster than you can imagine!
Also, it helps to solidify the difference in the written and spoken form. As an added bonus, you can always check and correct their pronunciation of difficult words.

2) Music video or other media

Music videos often present a wide range of vocabulary through  a variety of different scenes. Watch the music video and see if your students can summarize what happens in the video. You’d be surprised how often you end up with a long list of in-context vocabulary after you watch a 2 minute video!
Of course, with La La Land, you can watch the trailer first, and later the whole movie.  You can check out the trailer here:

3) Additional Verse or Alternate Ending

Now, since I’m a writer, this is one of my favourite parts. Teaching poetry? Have your English students add an additional verse to a song from La La Land.  If you’re really ambitious, you can have your English class or private tutoring students write an alternate “chapter” as an ending to the film once you watch it in class.
Students get really creative when you give them the chance. So, maybe their new endings to Sebastian and Mia’s story will fascinate you!

3 Reasons Adults Love Songs, Too

  • 1) Authentic context – What better way to learn a language than how it is used?
  • 2) Vocabulary learning – Learning vocabulary from songs ensures the words are modern and in context
  • 3) It’s fun! – You’ll have your adult students humming Mia and Sebastian’s theme song, too

With musicals you can use the movie, too. Click here to grab your  copy of La La Land from Amazon. You won’t regret watching this movie many times. In fact, I’ve already bought the soundtrack (composed by Justin Hurwitz) and I’m trying to play it on the piano!

Have you used song lyrics in your class? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


Happy Teaching!




P.S. Photo fans,  I took the photo for today’s post at an auditorium, The Sheldonian, in Oxford, England in 2013.

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