Traditional Songs for teaching/learning

I really believe in using the students’ own cultural knowledge and “aspect” when teaching English. I’ve elaborated on this notion of CSC (Culturally Specific Content) on a number of occasions. There can be no more powerful cultural component than traditional song and music.

Arirang is the most famous Korean traditional song. It has countless variations across the nation, north and south. It also has countless translations. Here is one I made for use in class.

See the video below for a full explanation as to the meaning of the song. It basically is a song of “longing” and sadness. Not only of love but on many levels.

One great idea for your students would be to get them to make their own “Arirang” lyrics. Use this cool modern version of the song to get them inspired. They just fit the lines to the music! I’ve included some audio files of the song for your use in any lesson about “Arirang”.

What is the traditional song in the part of the world where you teach?


아리랑, 아리랑, 아라리요…
아리랑 고개로 넘어간다.
나를 버리고 가시는 님은
십리도 못가서 발병난다.

아리랑, 아리랑, 아라리요…
아리랑 고개로 넘어간다.
청청하늘엔 청 별도 많고
우리네 가슴



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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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