- Foreign Languages (2010-11)
This action research project explored the effects of an assignment requiring students to compose and record original French-language songs on the engagement and achievement of a group of 8th-grade boys, early in their second year of formal language instruction at Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia. The class devoted two weeks to writing lyrics, setting them to music, practicing pronunciation, and recording the songs, in an effort to improve the students' pronunciation and confidence in their speaking skills as well as to provide an opportunity for engagement in a creative pursuit in the target language. The students reported some perceived improvement in their communicative skills and great enthusiasm for the chance to express themselves in French, with minimal restrictions as to content or structure. The results of this project suggest that creative endeavors, even given the linguistic limitations of novice learners, can carry significant benefits in the development of boys' language proficiency and, especially, in their active engagement and enthusiasm for language study.