Learning Author’s Purpose & Main Idea Through the Beatles
It’s so much fun to learn about literary elements through music! When analyzing John Lennon’s song “Imagine” one day in class, Mr. Keddy, a charismatic history teacher from Ireland, popped into the room after hearing the song. He joined our class discussion and helped students gain more perspective on the meaning of the song thanks to his Beatles knowledge and passion. An idea was then born between Mr. Keddy and me to invite Mr. Van Loon, an English teacher and skilled guitar player, to my ESL class to discuss author’s purpose and main idea in Beatles music. Both Mr. Keddy and Mr. Van Loon graciously accepted my invitation and joined my period 2/3 ESL class to analyze the meaning and purpose behind iconic Beatles songs.
The songs we analyzed were “Blackbird” and “She’s Leaving Home.” Students were able to relate to both songs through the themes of Civil Rights, women’s rights, and leaving home for a new place. Students were engaged throughout the entire lesson and had fun learning the history of the music and even sang along. All three teachers were able to connect this engaging, interactive lesson to the MYP IB curriculum. For language acquisition, comprehending spoken, written, and visual text is an important standard that we practice each day. In an IB classroom, it’s also highly important to remind students of th
e global context. Students reviewed a map examined and explored the UK to ensure a connection with the geographical, cultural,
and historical context of the Beatles’ music.
Mr. Keddy and Mr. Van Loon shared stories about the Beatles, the importance of their music, and their ability to learn through lyrics. Mr. Keddy explained that his friend learned English through listening to the Beatles. I was so happy to collaborate with these teachers and give my students a new perspective. Often, English language learners are not recognized for their intelligence, talents, and curiosity due to the language barrier. I believe that the staff and teachers at Roberto Clemente Community Academy value our English language learners and give them the respect, educational experiences, and voice they deserve. This lesson was a true reflection of teacher collaboration, student engagement, and multi-modal learning. It was also a great opportunity to expose our young people to the best music there is.