The current state of research in foreign and second language acquisition has addressed the use of music in language learning in a regular classroom setting in USA. However, the process of learning and teaching foreign language and culture using music as a co-curricular setting in the form of a choir ensemble in an immersion language program of an American university during Summer school sessions needs to be explored. Since immersion language programs attract students with different ethnic, cultural and language background, age and gender and participation in co-curricular activities is accessible to any interested student, it is crucial to identify factors that have an impact on the process of learning and teaching foreign language and culture in the setting of a choir ensemble.
The purpose of this paper is to explore factors that influence learning and teaching Russian language and culture in a choir setting of an immersion language program of an American university. The principles of ACTFL theoretical framework and cognitive psychology will be applied.
This paper summarizes the teaching experience of the author as the choir director and language faculty in an immersion-based university Russian summer school language program in the northeast US during two summer sessions. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and questionnaires of students, fieldnotes of participant-observers, audio-visual materials of rehearsals and concerts, teacher's descriptive and reflective notes from individual and group conferences and work sessions with students, and the teacher's lesson plans.
The following three factors with sub-themes were identified and will constitute the outline for the presentation:
1. Socio-cultural factors:
Sub-themes: ethnical, age, gender, religious and ability differences
2. Forms and methods of language learning and teaching process:
Sub-themes: reading and listening comprehension, speaking, pronunciation, and grammar
3. Psychological factors:
Sub-themes: learner's motivation and self-efficacy, learner's and teacher's metacognitive awareness
Teachers' acknowledgment of these factors is the condition for success of the process of learning and teaching foreign language and culture by means of music.