Benito Vacio

Go Genki

An unusual approach to teaching vocabulary


Last September 2013, I held my most successful English Camp. I say the most successful one because my students were described as "great" by 6 foreign teachers who helped me with the camp. To these teachers' surprise, they witnessed my students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 dancing with gusto, grace, enthusiasm and absence of inhibitions considering that they are all "Thai" students of a public school in one district of Nonthaburi, Thailand.

One of the comments was, "Your students are incredible dancers. Unlike my students they are not inhibited or not shy to sway their hips and move their hands with grace." I told them that my students were good dancers, not because I am a good dancer but because for 2 years they had been exposed to dances I choreographed for the Genki songs I taught like What's your name song? Hello, how are you? How old are you? Where do you live? What time is it? Where are you from? How did you get here? Good morning? What do you? Etc. Other than this , in every program we had in school for two years now, I have been using Genki songs with dances for intermission and school presentations.

I got hold of Genki English CDs years ago. In my director's desire to make my teaching more meaningful, she gave me 4 volumes of these CDs. Incidentally, the lessons I taught also matched with our Nonthaburi English Teachers'Project curriculum, so there was really no conflict when I used them as teaching lessons and materials. One thing good with the CD's is that they have songs that even the less interested student in dancing couldn't help but move their hips, clap their hands, and move their feet to the rhythm of the song.

The minus one music also makes the students sing as if they are following a karaoke minus the lyrics. Although Genki songs teach only 8 vocabulary words for every topic from personal information to anything under the sun, that number is good enough for an hour lesson. The teacher can let the students look up the meaning of words in the dictionary, spell them, sing them in the song and use them in a dialogue.

Genki English songs proved useful to me. In one term I was once invited to teach nearly 400 kindergarten, grade school and high school teachers from Pattani, Naratiwat, and Yala provinces south of Thailand, who lacked units to finish their teaching degree. There were 2 classes with less than 200 students each. This was an outreach program of Rajabhat Universty in Bangkok. Although they were all experienced teachers, 80% of them could hardly speak English.

At first, I was in a dilemma on how to teach English to these groups for I was given a curriculum that was too difficult for them. You know what I did? I used Genki English songs with the help of power point and it was great. For 12 meetings in 3 months, my fear that I couldn't deliver my lessons well because my students lacked English proficiency was gone and to my astonishment , all my students enjoyed learning English through Genki English songs. In fact, I awarded the best students not more than 20 cds of the songs I taught so that they could use them in their classes.

In my volunteer work with the blind and the young women in a center at Pak Kret, Nnthaburi, Thailand under the patronage of the late Mother Queen and His Majesty the King of Thailand as well as in our English class-for-all of Our Lady of Mercy church, also in Thailand, under the care of Italian priests, students ages 25-79 and in the 7 English Camps where I taught or whenever I would be invited, I never failed to use Genki English songs in my activities.

Genki English songs are marvelous. Most, if not all of my students, were transformed from shy to confident and speakers brought about by their easy vocabulary words applicable in daily life experience. Once you have tried it, without a doubt, you will produce very appreciative students, lovers of good songs, and make them good dancers as well. My students learned English with so much fun and they always looked forward to my English classes.

Why don't you try Genki English now? Once you have tried it, teaching worries will be gone, more lessons will be enjoyed , more dynamic students will be developed and most of all your classrooms will come alive.

Find out more about Genki English from the official Genki English website


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