The Impact of songs on children's Spanish language learning at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies
Learning a second language (L2) is a challenging process that involves many factors. As related to music, L2 learning has been explored mostly taking into account students' musical abilities. This study, on the other hand, had the purpose to evaluate to what extent language musical instruction had an impact on students' Spanish language learning regardless of their musical abilities, and to evaluate if a correlation between musical abilities and Spanish vocabulary learning could be observed as well. For this purpose, this quantitative study focused on measuring the impact of two chosen pedagogical techniques on children's Spanish L2 leaming. These techniques involved the teaching of Spanish language using songs for one group-experimental group and not using songs for the other group-comparison group. Both pedagogical approaches, though, were based on the Communicative Language Teaching approach. This quasi-experimental design study had 46 participants. These participants were children aged 8 to 11 years old from the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies' community, randomly divided into two 23-student groups. The study included a musical abilities test, a Spanish pretest, 4 I -hour instruction sessions, and a Spanish posttest at the end, for a total of 6 research sessions. After the data collection, test scores were compared using independent samples t-tests to evaluate if there was a statistical difference between the experimental and comparison groups regarding the Spanish vocabulary tests. Results showed a nonsignificant difference between the research groups' performance both in the Spanish vocabulary pre- and post-test. This result continued the tendency seen in similar studies done. The literature on the topic was consulted, and songs were proposed as one of many pedagogical techniques to be used in the L2 classroom. This research found, nevertheless, a Pearson's test strong positive correlation between participants' musical abilities and L2 learning. This result presents one of the first empirical evidences to correlate these two variables as a result of a written test. Suggestions for parents, teachers, and students highlighted that given the correlation between musical abilities and L2 learning, music, and songs can be particularly useful for some L2 students. As the topic was not exhausted, further research suggestions were offered to continue this line of investigation connecting L2 learning and music.