Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2589-2053
  • E-ISSN: 2589-207x
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This article reports on the findings of a comparative study on songs in four English coursebook series for primary school learners, with two published in China and another two in the UK. Detailed analysis focuses on the number, the coverage, the teaching purposes, and the instructional arrangements of songs. The findings show that although the total number of songs in coursebooks from China outnumbers that from the UK, no correlation exists between learners’ grade levels and the number of songs in each fascicle. The study further demonstrates that the purposes of songs in all four series are mainly to arouse learners’ interest, to improve pronunciation, and to enhance vocabulary and sentence structure understanding, revealing a lack of due attention to fostering learners’ intercultural awareness. Regarding the pedagogical approach and other instructional arrangements, British coursebooks feature a more diversified approach, highlighting the integration of learners’ physical, psychological and cognitive development, whereas Chinese coursebooks concentrate on providing simplistic and unified instructions which may pose a challenge for novice teachers but an opportunity for experienced teachers. Based on the findings, recommendations are offered to future coursebook writers.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Ağçam, R., & Babanoğlu, M. P.
    (2018) A comparative study on EFL coursebooks in Turkish and German secondary public schools. International Journal of Eurasia Social Sciences, 9(32), 948–959.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Asher, J.
    (1969) The total physical response approach to second language learning. Modern Language Journal, 531, 3–17.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. (1977) Learning another language through actions: The complete teacher’s guide book. Sky Oaks Productions. (2nd ed. 1982.)
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Ashtiani, T. F., & Zafarghandi, M. A.
    (2015) The effect of English verbal songs on connected speech aspects of adult English learners’ speech production. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 6(1), 212–226.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Butler, G. Y., Kang, I. K., Kim, H., & Liu, Y. T.
    (2021) “Tasks” appearing in primary school coursebooks. ELT Journal, 72(3), 285–295. 10.1093/elt/ccx056
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccx056 [Google Scholar]
  6. Cifuentes, C. M.
    (2006) Songs in the English class: A strategy to encourage tenth graders’ oral production. Profile, 71, 47–57.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Coyle, Y., & Gracia, G. R.
    (2014) Using songs to enhance L2 vocabulary acquisition in preschool children. ELT Journal, 68(3), 276–285. 10.1093/elt/ccu015
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccu015 [Google Scholar]
  8. Davis, G. M., & Fan, W.
    (2016) English vocabulary acquisition through songs in Chinese kindergarten students. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, 39(1), 59–71. 10.1515/cjal‑2016‑0004
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cjal-2016-0004 [Google Scholar]
  9. Džanić, D. N., & Pejić, A.
    (2016) The effect of using songs on young learners and their motivation for learning English. An Interdisciplinary Journal, 1(2), 40–54. 10.24819/netsol2016.8
    https://doi.org/10.24819/netsol2016.8 [Google Scholar]
  10. Gardner, H.
    (1985) Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligence. Basic books.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Guo, Y.
    (2012) The application of English songs in English teaching of secondary vocational schools. Vocational and Technical Education, 20(33), 44–46.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Harmer, J.
    (2007) The practice of English language teaching 4th ed. Pearson Education Ltd.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Holderness, J., & Hughes, A.
    (1997) 100 plus ideas for children: A teacher’s resource book of topic-based activities for children. Macmillan Heinemann English Language Teaching.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Huertas, I. A. C., & Parra, L. J. N.
    (2014) The role of songs in first-graders’ oral communication development in English. PROFILE Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 16(1), 11–28. 10.15446/profile.v16n1.37178
    https://doi.org/10.15446/profile.v16n1.37178 [Google Scholar]
  15. Jakupčević, E., & Portolan, M. Ć.
    (2021) An analysis of pragmatic content in EFL coursebooks for young learners in Croatia. Language Teaching Research, 00(0), 1–24.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Jarvis, S.
    (2013) How effective is it to teach a foreign language in the foundation stage through songs and rhymes?International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 41(1), 47–54. 10.1080/03004279.2012.710099
    https://doi.org/10.1080/03004279.2012.710099 [Google Scholar]
  17. Keskil, G., & Cephe, P. T.
    (2001) Learner variables in the learning English: Is a 10-year-old the same as a 12-year-old?Modern English Teacher, 10(1), 57–61.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Kim, H.
    (2012) Social and cultural issues in some EFL coursebooks in Korea. Hawaii Pacific University TESOL Working Paper Series, 101, 30–39.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Krashen, S.
    (1985) The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Lee, F. K. J.
    (2014) Gender representation in Hong Kong primary school ELT coursebooks – A comparative study. Gender and Education, 26(4), 356–376. 10.1080/09540253.2014.916400
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2014.916400 [Google Scholar]
  21. Lestari, I., & Anti, N.
    (2020) Vocabulary learning autonomy through incorporation of English songs: Indonesian EFL students’ perspectives. The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 26(2), 94–104. 10.17576/3L‑2020‑2602‑07
    https://doi.org/10.17576/3L-2020-2602-07 [Google Scholar]
  22. Levitin, D.
    (2008) This is your brain on music: Understanding a human obsession. Atlantic Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Liu, X. Q., & Qu, D. N.
    (2014) Exploring the multimodality of EFL coursebooks for Chinese college students: A comparative study. RELC Journal, 45(2), 135–150. 10.1177/0033688214533865
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0033688214533865 [Google Scholar]
  24. Li, Y. J.
    (2013) Yingwen gequ dui yingyu ketang jiaoxue de youhua [The optimization of English songs for English classroom teaching]. Journal of Teaching and Management, 331, 141–143.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Millington, T. N.
    (2011) Using songs effectively to teach English to young learners. Language Education in Asia, 2(1), 134–141. 10.5746/LEiA/11/V2/I1/A11/Millington
    https://doi.org/10.5746/LEiA/11/V2/I1/A11/Millington [Google Scholar]
  26. Ministry of Education
    Ministry of Education (2001) English curriculum standards for full-time compulsory and senior high schools (trial). Beijing Normal University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Ministry of Education
    Ministry of Education (2012) National English curriculum standards for compulsory education (2011 edition). Beijing Normal University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Ministry of Education
    Ministry of Education (2022) National English curriculum standards for compulsory education (2022 edition). Beijing Normal University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Mishan, F., & Timmis, I.
    (2015) Materials development for TESOL. Edinburgh University Press. 10.1515/9780748691371
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9780748691371 [Google Scholar]
  30. Moradi, F., & Shahrokhi, M.
    (2014) The effect of listening to music on Iranian children’s segmental and suprasegmental pronunciation. English Language Teaching, 7(6), 128–42. 10.5539/elt.v7n6p128
    https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v7n6p128 [Google Scholar]
  31. Nair, D.
    (2018) Coursebook conflicts in South Asia: Politics of memory and national identity. Journal of Educational Media, Memory & Society, 2(2), 29–45. 10.3167/jemms.2010.020203
    https://doi.org/10.3167/jemms.2010.020203 [Google Scholar]
  32. Nordlund, M.
    (2016) EFL coursebooks for young learners: A comparative analysis of vocabulary. Education Inquiry, 7(1), 47–68. 10.3402/edui.v7.27764
    https://doi.org/10.3402/edui.v7.27764 [Google Scholar]
  33. Piaget, J.
    (1967) Six psychological studies. Vintage Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Ren, W., & Han, Z. R.
    (2021) The representation of pragmatic knowledge in recent ELT coursebooks. ELT Journal, 70(4), 424–434. 10.1093/elt/ccw010
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccw010 [Google Scholar]
  35. Safaei, A., & Dabbagh, A.
    (2019) Comparative coursebook evaluation: Representation of learning objectives in locally and internationally published ELT coursebooks. Issues in Language Teaching (ILT), 8(1), 249–277.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Sui, Y.
    (2014) Xiaoxue yingyu jiaoxue zhong yingwen gequ de yunyong. [Use of English songs in primary school English teaching]. Journal of Teaching and Management, 141, 48–49.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Tajeddin, Z., & Pakzadian, M.
    (2020) Representation of inner, outer and expanding circle varieties and cultures in global ELT coursebooks. Asian-Pacific Journal of Second and Foreign Language Education, 5(10), 1–15. 10.1186/s40862‑020‑00089‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s40862-020-00089-9 [Google Scholar]
  38. Tajeddin, Z., & Teimournezhad, S.
    (2015) Exploring the hidden agenda in the representation of culture in international and localized ELT coursebooks. The Language Learning Journal, 43(2), 180–193. 10.1080/09571736.2013.869942
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2013.869942 [Google Scholar]
  39. Taki, S.
    (2008) International and local curricula: The question of ideology. Language Teaching Research, 12(1), 127–142. 10.1177/1362168807084503
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168807084503 [Google Scholar]
  40. Tegge, F.
    (2018) Pop songs in the classroom: Time-filler or teaching tool?ELT Journal, 72(3), 274–284. 10.1093/elt/ccx071
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccx071 [Google Scholar]
  41. Tomczak, E., & Lew, R.
    (2019) “The song of words” Teaching multi-word units with songs. The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 25(4), 16–33. 10.17576/3L‑2019‑2504‑02
    https://doi.org/10.17576/3L-2019-2504-02 [Google Scholar]
  42. Vaezi, R., Tabatabaei, S., & Bakhtiarvand, M.
    (2014) A comparative study of speech-acts in the coursebooks by native and nonnative speakers: A pragmatic analysis of new interchange series vs. locally-made EFL Coursebooks. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(1), 167–180. 10.4304/tpls.4.1.167‑180
    https://doi.org/10.4304/tpls.4.1.167-180 [Google Scholar]
  43. Varzande, M.
    (2015) The construction of new political identities through the internationally distributed English learning coursebooks. English Language Teaching, 8(2), 101–108. 10.5539/elt.v8n2p101
    https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v8n2p101 [Google Scholar]
  44. Wallace, W.
    (1994) Memory for music: Effect of melody on recall of text. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20(6), 1471–1485.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Wang, H., Huang, S., & Li, M.
    (2008) Yingyu gequ fuzhu jiaoxue de yanjiu yu tantao [On English song-assisted teaching]. Journal of Southwest Minzu University Humanities and Social Science), 29(S3), 180–182.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Wang, Q.
    (2011) On primary English education in China. Foreign Languages in China, 8(4), 47–54.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Zhang, J. P.
    (2012) Roles of English songs in English teaching. Modern Education Science, 10(5), 162+149.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): comparative analysis; ELT coursebooks; English songs; young learners
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error