More Emotional Literacy Through Music

If you have followed my blog for a while, you will know I am a massive fan of using music in the classroom, especially for reading comprehension. You can read about other songs I have blogged here.

Here is another example:

Here is a lyric video to the song:

“Praying” is a song by Kesha believed to be directed at her long legal battle with producer Dr. Luke. It is believed the producer sexually and emotionally abused the singer over a number of years. While I wouldn't share this sensitive information with the class, the song has a powerful message about being positive when bad things have happened. Kesha described this song as:

This song is about me finding peace in the fact that I can’t control everything — because trying to control everyone was killing me. It’s about learning to let go and realize that the universe is in control of my fate, not me. 
“Praying” was written about that moment when the sun starts peeking through the darkest storm clouds, creating the most beautiful rainbow. Once you realise that you will in fact be OK, you want to spread love and healing. If you feel like someone has wronged you, get rid of that hate, because it will just create more negativity.

 There are definite links through this song and bullying and how to have a positive mindset if you have been picked on and bullied.

Here are the lyrics with some suggested questions:

Listen to the song all the way through and ask the children for what they think this song is about?
Who is the singer singing about? What makes you think this?

Well, you almost had me fooled
Told me that I was nothing without you
Oh, but after everything you've done
I can thank you for how strong I have become

  • Who is the singer singing to? An ex-boyfriend, partner or 'friend'
  • Why was she almost fooled? She almost believed everything the person was saying that made her doubt herself
  • What makes you think the person she is singing about isn't a nice person? They seem controlling by telling the singer she is nothing with them.
  • Do you think the experience with this person is something the singer regrets? Yes in some ways as she was clearly hurt but she has now learned from the mistake and it has made her a better person.
  • If the person she is singing about has bullied her, why is she thanking them? She believes in forgiveness and knows this experience has made her a stronger person
  • Do you think this is the right attitude to have?
  • Do you think you would think the same way? Allow for personal response
’Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I'll just say this is I wish you farewell

  • What word is mispelt in the first line? What should it be? Because
  • Did the person she is speaking about actually bring flames? No
  • What do the flames symbolise? Flames can be dangerous and harmful, they can also leave scars
  • What does she mean by 'put me through hell'? Whoever it was treated them terribly and made them feel worthless. Hell is considered a place of constant punishment and torment.
  • How did the singer feel during this time? How do you know? Lonely, she had to fight for herself.
  • Has the singer revealed everything that has happened? No
  • Why not? She doesn't want to reflect and remind herself of all the damage that has been caused. She wants to move on.
  • What does the word farewell mean? Farewell is more of a term of endearment.
  • Why would she use this word? She realises that two wrongs don't make a right and is showing empathy towards the person that has hurt her. She knows there are reasons why this person has acted in this way and hopes they can sort these problems out.
  • Why does she 'wish them farewell'? The singer uses it more as a way of saying goodbye and she wants to move on with her life. 

I hope you're somewhere prayin’, prayin'
I hope your soul is changin', changin'
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin'

  • Does the singer think the person will be praying? No, she uses the word hope.
  • Why is she hoping the person is praying? People usually pray for a number of reasons but a more popular one is to ask for forgiveness. She is hoping they're praying to repent their sins.
  • What does she hope this will do? Change their soul and make them a better person so they never do this again.
  • Why does she hope they find their peace? She wants them to learn and never repeat this bullying to anyone else.
I'm proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come
'Cause I can make it on my own
And I don't need you, I found a strength I’ve never known
I’ll bring thunder, I'll bring rain, oh-oh
When I’m finished, they won't even know your name

  • Do you think the singer has always been proud of who they are? Maybe not, maybe the person she is singing about made her doubt herself, feeling lonely and upset.
  • What word does she use to describe the person she is singing about? A monster
  • What impression do we get from this description? A monster is a scary creature, it makes us think the singer was frightened and feeling powerless with them.
  • Now she has moved on, how does she feel? She feels free, she says she can breathe again.
  • How else did the person make the singer feel? Like she was worthless and finished by saying she was done.
  • How does the singer feel now? With freedom comes courage, strength and belief. She feels like a big weight has been lifted and it has given her a new lease of life. 
  • What has she learnt? Despite previously feeling alone because of the bullying, now she has realised that she doesn't need anyone else, she can make it on her own. 
  • What strength has she found? A strength to be proud of herself, believe in her own ability and not rely on other people's opinons and thoughts. 
  • What does she mean by bringing thunder and rain? Thunder and rain usually symbolise sadness. So she is saying that there will still be moments when she is sad and vulnerable, but accepts this also makes her stronger by accepting the fact she isn't perfect.
  • What does she mean by the last line? Once she has finished achieving her dreams, this experience will be so insignificant, people won't even remember it. 
You brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I'll just say this is I wish you farewell

I hope you're somewhere prayin’, prayin'
I hope your soul is changin', changin'
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin'

Oh, sometimes I pray for you at night
Someday, maybe you'll see the light
Oh, some say, in life, you're gonna get what you give
But some things only God can forgive

  • Is the singer completely over the bullying? No she still thinks about it at night.
  • Do you think she believes the bully will 'see the light'? She isn't sure as she uses the words someday and maybe.
  • What does she mean by 'see the light'? Seeing the light means realising what they have done and realising the damage it has caused and ask for forgiveness.

  • Can you think of some words to describe the singer when she was being bullied?
  • Can you think of some words to describe the singer now?
  • What can we learn from her approach to bullies?
  • Do you think you would be the same?
  • If you see bullying happening, what should you do? 
  • How long do you think it has taken the singer to get to this point of feeling strong again?

I know the issue raised in this song could be sensitive for some, I know it would lead to some very deep and interesting conversations about bullying, empathy and understanding. 

I hope you found these ideas useful.
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