Songs: a window to a culture


1. compare and contrast the values represented in songs from different cultures
2. gain better insight into the cultural implications of songs as a medium of expression of
3. exchange information
4. use of weblog
5. use of wiki

references to the country’s culture in songs. Specific examples in songs.


Think of a song in your language which may well represent the way of living, the habits of young people, for example, and translate it into English. Your partners will do the same, then you will translate their song into your own language

Here we should have groups for each nationality, but each group could "supervise" the other groups' work and ask for questions or explanations about what they are doing/writing. Each group might then comment the other groups' songs in the blog.


2) Songs: a window to a culture:
a) The Students from each country will choose a song/a couple of songswhich they identify with, or which represents aspects of their identities as complex individuals. The students can choose from(or make up their own scenario):

'If you had to present your school community to a group of international students at a Youth conference/Forum, which song would choose?'
or 'If you had to choose a song to represent you to people in 2200(?) in a time capsule, which song/CD/DVD/clip would you choose?
Or ‘My culture’s song of protest’
b) The students will translate the songs into English and using the READWhiteThink guide
c) Will publish the information on a separate page
d) Students from each country will comment on each others’ choices
Or ?………………..

e) the Students will do a survey to find out what ‘musical myths’ their foreign counterparts have about their culture.
f) The students will publish their findings and debunk those myths. A short explanation of stereotypes can be published for reference(or a comment on that)



1. What do you suggest? I was thinking of using the information found in the PPT presentations and the information in the forum, apart from other information in the net. (but first thing our students have to do is to write in the forum).
Who will write about whom' i don't know. Any brilliant idea? I was thinking that maybe I will distribute my students in pairs or threes and each pair/group would write about a different country. Each of you can do the same and publish it in the twinspace (not very attractive kind of place, but the easiest to use), in a folder called COUNTRIES or something like this. Then students can compare the different articles written by students from different countries and create a definite one.

2. Another suggestion could be to divide the tasks among your students:
- some can translate the songs from English to your own language (create a folder in the twinspace called SONGS OF PROTEST)
- some others can write articles about other countries: maybe one country writes about another country. If we choose to do this, only countries which have published inforrmation about their own country will be able to write about another country. ie.
Spanish students write about Poland
Polish students write about Italy
Italian… and so on

More than one article can be published about every single country, I mean one about Polish customs, another about the Polish language… depending on the number of students we have.


Instead of writing articles about our countries, I think we can invite students to analyse the songs the groups have chosen to represent their countries. They could then ask questions about some aspects they may find more peculiar or interesting and in the end write a sort of commentary in which they can express what they think about it, the message it communicates and the vision of the country it gives. Then, of course, they can translate it into their own language and try, for instance, to keep the same rhythm or rhymes, if any.
What do yo think? More suggestions?


I do agree with Ale. The song is about songs, so let's work on the songs.
My students have started translating some of the songs. ie a Bulgarian one. They have published the translation in the BULGARIA section. I don't know if this is the best place. What do you think? Should we create a new file named TRANSLATED SONGS and publish the translations and comments there? Ultimately, a new post in the international blog could be published with some or all the works.

Then, as a close-up: a treasure hunt can be created:

1) get students from different nationalities work in groups (same groups as in the section: worksheets)
2)each group is assigned a country (only countries with information either in the twinspace, or in the national blogs) from PPT to songs
3) create new threads in the forum, each with the name of the country, where students from the same group can post their questions (questions whose answers can be found in the diff. files, forum, or national blogs).
4) At the end, 10 questions about each country can be selected and ultimately published in the international blog. We can use POLLDADDY.COM (free option, which allows students to create a survey with 10 questions (multiple choice, or open ones).

This is intended to make the project more collaborative and make students visit and read each other's works.


Deadline for publishing about own's country and debunking myths, and translating other countries's songs. 2nd April.
After the Easter break we can start working on the TREASURE HUNT thing (remember the groups can be found in MY TEAMS in this site), only that the countries to work on should be assigned beforehand.


Ale says:

I have already expressed my opinion about this. I'd rather make the students work on the songs
than on their countries. I have prepared some work they could do, which consists mainly of an analysis of the content of the two songs of protest I have found out - the Bulgarian and the Catalan one. I haven't found any among the Swedish ones but I will read them again more carefully. The same can be done for the Italian song, of course. I agree the students should cooperate more but I think they should do it using the songs. They could work in international groups when they have to write the new song. Each group could contribute a stanza, for example. They could use the images/info they can get from the songs and develop new ones. They could all decide on the structure of the song (how many stanzas, how many lines each, what kind of "narrator" etc.) and then write it. A rap rhythm could fit, since I think it is easier. Of course each group could also produce a complete song, so we will have as many songs as the groups.

I will upload the worksheets I have prepared in the folder "worksheets" in the twinspace. Have a look and feel free to edit them.

Tanya says:

I have looked at the worksheets in twinspace and I think I like the simplicity of the approach very much. We can design similar questions for the other songs - above, in the objectives part we have stated that ss will 'compare and contrast' values. I will see what my students say/which songs they want to choose, and we will do same as Ale.

My students somehow went 'cold' on the country articles. They are doing presentations for their geography countries on particular places, specified by the teacher, so maybe this is the reason why this didnt work. Also, I did not want to encourage a 'copy paste' approach, and a more personal approach would have taken too long. So we are not doing the country part.

Ale, how do I download the slideshow from the twinspace? Want to use it, will make Qs for students to think about before I give them the lyrics. In fact, my students, who are part of the team, will give this lesson(because they will have seen/or have seen the songs already) to their classmates. So we will watch the slide and make predictions what the song may be about. Then we will read it, compare predictions, and do close reading of the text, with Qs I need to design/or my students can do that. Then as a class activity, we will translate the song. With the other class I can do the same with one of the Spanish songs. I know how to download from utube.

treasure hunt - as I understand it, this is meant tp make students walk around the materials published for this project here and there, and ask final Qs/give feedback? Sounds good to me though the Forum, and the blog comments sections already contain elements of this.

This is from me for now.

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