ESL Students Learn English from The Beatles

A new study has found that 40% of surveyed ESL (English as a second language) teachers play songs by The Beatles to help their students learn English.

Research by Kaplan International Colleges revealed that 86% of ESL teachers play music during class to enhance lessons and help students improve their understanding of the English language.

Kaplan discovered that The Beatles were the most popular band used by ESL teachers with 40% stating that they used the songs of The Fab Four such as Hey Jude, Love Me Do and A Hard Day’s Night during lessons.

James McCartney, the only son of Paul McCartney, said: "What a great way to learn any language–by learning through music. Music is a universal language that can bridge the traditional language barrier, and the music of The Beatles has always been a bridge of love and communication. I think this is great."

The Beatles, whose influence on music and culture is still felt across the world today, were the most played band in English lessons beating other established artists such as Michael Jackson, Bob Marley and Elvis by a substantial margin.

Jackson was favoured by just 6% of ESL teachers, while the reggae songs of Bob Marley were played by 5% and Elvis was used by only 4% of educators. One Direction, the latest band to be compared to The Beatles, came fifth with 3%.

Kaplan surveyed more than 500 ESL teachers from 40 countries to discover what tools they use to enhance their lessons. The results of Kaplan’s “How to Teach English” survey have been published as an infographic. The infographic page has quotes covering all aspects of the research.

Other survey results include:

  • 81% of ESL teachers surveyed have used English-speaking celebrities to engage students: Barack Obama being the most popular celebrity.
  • 76% have used Movies in class: The Harry Potter series being the most popular.
  • 75% have used Newspapers in class: The New York Times being the most popular.
  • 60% have used TV shows in class: Mr Bean being the most popular.
  • 34% have used the Radio in class: The BBC World Service being the most popular.
  • 33% have used Comics in class: Spider-Man being the most popular.
  • 24% have used Computer Games in class: The Sims being the most popular.

Kaplan surveyed 503 ESL teachers from the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Russia, India, South Korea, Turkey, Georgia, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Greece, Vietnam, Spain, Cuba, France, Taiwan, Thailand, Azerbajan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Mexico, Iran, Ukraine, Jamaica, Malaysia, Romania, Poland, Argentina, Czech Republic, Latvia, Uganda, Malta, Singapore and Chile.

In a previous study conducted in 2012, Kaplan found that Bob Marley was the most popular musician for helping people learn English outside of the classroom with 80% of those surveyed claiming that listening to music enhanced their English language skills.

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