Nowadays foreign languages are considered to be a means of interpersonal, intergovernmental and international communication so that students’ motivation to learn a foreign language is of vital concern.
Both in foreign and domestic psychology a lot of research devoted to the problem of motivation has been carried out but there is no unanimous approach to its study. The contemporary theory of motivation varies. P.Yakobson points out that one can hardly find any other sphere of research where there are so many concepts, often contradicting each other. Thus V.Aseev states that motivation consists of such impulses as motives, needs, interest, drives, aims and so on. V.Leontiev defines motivation as an inner mechanism organizing and leading person’s behavior. Notwithstanding differences in determining the term motivation the majority of scientists agree that needs, motives, interest and emotions are all components of motivation.
The problem of motivation appears from the first steps of studying at school. Though there are a lot of works devoted to this problem (V.G.Aseev, V.S.Ilin, A.K.Markova, J.W.Atkinson, S.P.Grossman, K.B.Madsen, G.Merphy and others), it can not be characterized as having been worked out. The question of finding and using effective methods raising pupil’s interest to study a foreign language has always been of interest to teachers [1, 2, 3].
While teaching English and learning the motives of studying it, it is necessary to understand the specific character of English as a school subject. Thus, I.A.Zimnyaa points to the three characteristics of a foreign language: the absence of concise subject, infinity and heterogeneity. The first characteristic means that the foreign language in comparison with the other subjects doesn’t give to a person some direct knowledge about the objective reality. It is only the bearer of information. While studying a language a person can’t know only vocabulary, not knowing grammar. He must know all vocabulary and all grammar, which are demanded by the program. In this meaning the foreign language is infinite. Moreover the language includes in itself a range of some other phenomena, for example, speech activity (the processes of speaking and understanding), linguistic system, etc.. All these peculiarities of the foreign language as a subject at school form a negative subjective attitude to it.
Interest to the subject is known to be one of the most stable motives of studying any subject at school, influencing the processes of perception and memory so that having a desirable positive effect on the results of studying. The results of our research, aimed to understand if the pupils are interested in learning a foreign language at school, show that only 24% of pupils are interested in the process of learning a foreign language, 47% considering some parts and exercises to be interesting and 29% being indifferent.
The results of the research of students’ emotional well-being during lessons show that 34% of school students experience negative emotions while learning a foreign language and only 19% characterizing their emotions as positive. Students note difficulties in learning grammar topics. They feel disturbed not knowing how to pronounce certain words and constructing a sentence. It happens that they learn new words and do some tasks only because the teacher demands or they are pushed by parents.
The researchers of the problem of motivation of a foreign language point out to its decrease from class to class (Andreeva I.N., 2002; Zimnyaa I.A., 1991; Minaeva I.B., 2009; and others). The researches point to the fact that before the moment of learning a foreign language and the very beginning of it the students at school have a high level of motivation. They want to speak a language, recite poetry and sing foreign songs. But with the beginning of studying the language the attitude of the students to it changes. A lot of pupils become disappointed with it because this process supposes to have a large period of learning a basic material, a stage of primitive contents, the overcoming of different difficulties. All these peculiarities move aside aim achievement. A low interest of studying a language remains up to the ninth form, when the interest begins to rise slightly because the pupils understand the necessity of knowing this subject for the future education and profession.
The above mentioned facts show that it is necessary to find such methods of teaching English which would best suit physiological and psychological needs of the pupils and which would form a wish of learning a language. Moreover it is necessary to motivate children and form positive emotions to the process of learning a foreign language in kindergarten when they don’t think of a foreign language as a difficult subject yet.
The idea of using music at the lessons of the English language attracts teachers’ attention, as it is music that influences the emotional sphere of pupils, and emotions are known to be motives of any activity.
A lot of scholars pay attention to music, and they have an undivided opinion that music is an art that has the greatest power of emotional impact. As it is noted by N.V.Shutova, M.V.Arkhipova the impact of music is felt by everybody. The impact may be stimulating, irritating and sedative . All these factors made people include music as an obligatory subject to the system of education long ago. In the XX century the music therapy began to be widely used in Europe for cure for neuropsychic and somatic illnesses. Among specially organized centers the following ones became the most popular: in Austria – “Osterreichische Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Musiktherapie”, Switzerland – “Schweizer Forum fur Musiktherapie”, Germany – “Arbeitgemeinschaft fur Musiktherapie”.
At the beginning of the XX century the experiments showed that perception of music fastens heartbeats, increases rushes of blood to brain, slows or fastens pulse. There are proves that music intensifies metabolism, effects muscular tonus, stimulates the appearance of emotions. Music at that time began to be used during the educational process. L.N.Tregubova points to the fact that music used at lessons makes pupils more attentive. The investigations of V.I.Petrushin show that instrumental music stimulates imagination.
There are three lesson stages when music can be used in teaching preschool children a foreign language.
- vocal greeting
- music psycho-gymnastics
2. The main part
- music performance
- passive music perception.
The following program and musical compositions can be advised to be used in teaching a foreign language with preschool children:
1. To improve emotional well-being:
J.S.Bach «Cantata №2»
L.V. Beethoven – «Moonlight Sonata»
F.F.Chopin «Prelude №4», «Prelude №13»
2. To avoid emotional and mental overstrain:
G.Verdi «Ave Maria, Laudi»
W.Mozart «Ave Maria», «Lacrimosa»
3. To improve mood, general well-being
J.Strauss «Blue Danube Waltz»
J.Strauss «Tales from the Vienna Woods »
J.Strauss «Voices of Spring»
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, p.3
4. To concentrate, focus attention
Chopin Prelude No.17
5. To stimulate creativity:
C. Debussy «Voiles»
M.Ravel «Jeux d’eau»
In conclusion it can be noted that music influences the process of teaching and learning a foreign language in a positive way. It creates positive emotions, stimulates interest, and motivates pupils to take initiative.
- Atkinson J.W. An Introduction to Motivation. – N.Y, Toronto, 1964. – 335p.
- Grossman S.P. The Biology of Motivation. – Annual review of Psychology, 1979, Vol.30, p. 209-242
- Moore D.G., Burland K., Davidson J.W. The Social Context of Music Success: A Developmental Account. – British Journal of Psychology, Vol.94, 2003, p.529-550
- Arhipova M.V., Shutova N.V. Art of music in teaching foreign languages // European Conference on Education and Applied Psychology. Proceedings of the 4th European Conference. Mazilescu V. (Ed.). 2014. C. 67-73