A Master of Arts Thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Submitted to the College of Arts and Sciences by Lina K. Hejjawi Entitled, "Teachers' and Students' Attitudes Toward the Use of Music in UAE English Language Classrooms," January 2007. Available are both Soft and Hard Copies of the Thesis.
Much research stresses the value of music and its usefulness in language learning, but casual observation suggests that music is seldom used in university and secondary school English classes in government schools in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Adding music to language acquisition classes has been shown to lower learners' anxiety, increase motivation, and promote interest so that learning becomes more enjoyable and meaningful. Studies have also shown how music can be incorporated in language classrooms and suggest in which areas it could play a significant role and facilitate learning. However, there have not been any studies done on teachers' and students' attitudes toward music integration in language classrooms in schools in the UAE. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate to what extent and how music is being used in English language classrooms in the UAE, as well as teachers' and students' attitudes toward music use in language teaching and learning. In this research, questionnaires and interviews were used. Subjects for the study included 160 participants from each of the following groups: Secondary and college female and male teachers and secondary and college female and male students. The findings indicate very little use of music and songs by these UAE teachers. Most of the teachers mentioned some religious and cultural considerations which prevented them from using music and songs. In Islam Teaching, the use of instrumental accompaniment is prohibited. However, the use of human voices and a simple rhythmic device are not objectionable. Many teachers also perceived other practical impediments in attempting to incorporate music and songs into their classes, including lack of teaching materials, lack of time, and difficulty in choosing music and songs effectively. Findings also indicate, however, that the few teachers who did use music generally felt their uses of music were successful, although they reported very little support or resources to bring music into the classroom. On the other hand, the findings indicate that most students in the study had positive attitudes toward the use of music in their language learning. Although, like the teachers, their qualitative responses indicated some religious considerations that prohibit music in Islam, some mentioned that, in Islam, singing without any instrumental accompaniment is acceptable, and they encouraged music integration based on this fact.