Regardless of numerous studies supporting the effectiveness of utilizing music and songs in second language teaching, there is a remarkably limited amount of research investigating how music and songs are actually used by language teachers and the beliefs underpinning their practices, particularly in the Malaysian educational context. This qualitative study explored Malaysian ESL teachers’ beliefs and practices with regard to the use of music and songs in language instruction at different levels of education as well as factors influencing their instructional practices. The research participants consisted of five primary-level, five secondary-level and five tertiary-level ESL teachers working at public and private educational institutions, who were selected using purposeful sampling strategy. Data were gathered through individual semi-structured interviews and analyzed using Miles and Huberman’s (1994) framework for qualitative data analysis. Findings of the study indicated the ESL teachers from all three levels of education held overall positive beliefs about the benefits and appropriateness of music and songs as a teaching tool and utilized them in various ways to promote students’ language learning. A number of factors were found to influence the teachers’ use of music and songs in their classrooms. The findings of the study have implications for various educational stakeholders.


music, songs, second language teaching, ESL, Malaysia, language teacher cognition, beliefs and practices, semi-structured interviews

Author Bio(s)

Daler Bokiev has recently completed his Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) at Universiti Putra Malaysia. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Istanbul University, Turkey. His research interests include the use of music and technology in second language teaching as well as vocabulary learning and grammar instruction. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: daler_ob@yahoo.com

Dr. Lilliati Ismail is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Educational Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia. She holds a doctoral degree in TESL from Universiti Putra Malaysia, a Master’s degree in TESL from University of Malaya, and a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education and English Language Teaching from University of Exeter, UK. Her research interests include grammar instruction, task-based language teaching and second language acquisition. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: lilliati@upm.edu.my

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