Using Songs to Teach Social Justice

Songs can be used as supplementary materials when talking about social justice, and may sometimes have a stronger impact than plain words. There is a website with a collection of social justice songs that we can apply in language classes if you found the level and age group appropriate.

This may also lead to another question about how we should talk about the social issues in the students’ home community when people may feel offended to be accused by “outsiders”, and sometimes talking about another society or something in history as a metaphor to the present may help. Besides, the form of songs or artworks may be softer, stronger, and more acceptable than plain words.


keyue Song

6 Responses to “Using Songs to Teach Social Justice

  • Joshua Nesmith
    5 months ago

    I really appreciate your post Keyue! I think songs, music, poetry or rap can be such a great way for language learners to experiment with the L2.

  • Maya Sykes
    5 months ago

    Thank you for sharing Keyue. This reminds me of last year during FLEDS a presenter introduced Spanish songs that could be used in the classroom and did s cloze activity with eh group using the lyrics.

  • Oliver Block
    5 months ago

    Keyue, this is an excellent collection of songs by subject matter and like Maya and Josh thank you for posting it! I like how you specifically mentioned that these could be used with proper screening for appropriate proficiency level, age, and I would add context. Most songs, in my teaching experience, are used for a one-dimensional purpose of either generating awareness to vocabulary or a specific grammar point in a fun and enjoyable way. The SJ aspect, in an appropriately scaffolded lesson, can add another dimension for sure. Many of these songs are time and culture specific, however, which would mean the teacher would have to add a history element to their LP if a deeper meaning was also an objective. Without the history behind the song or the events at the time of the song, many of these SJ issues would be lost on the students especially if coming from a different culture. I have always loved “Anarchy in the UK” by the Sex Pistols but really had no idea what it was about. I just liked the energy in the song until I also read the lyrics and did some research.

  • Rebecca Jot
    5 months ago

    What a great list! Thank you for sharing this, Keyue.

  • Xinxin Liu
    5 months ago

    Thank you for the list.
    For your question on the “outsider”, I am thinking that teachers may show humility, and teachers as learners to create an open space to let students bring their own culture into the classroom? In this way, it might reduce the stance of an “outsider” and a “judger”.

  • Mia Dunfey
    5 months ago

    What a great resource, Keyue! I love that there are songs from all different genres so you could create a really rich lesson. I do agree with Oliver though that there is specific context that would be needed with some of the songs. To get around that, a fun and enlightening project for students could be to research a specific song and its history.

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