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SPOTLIGHT ON SEN D


Improving vocabulary to improve outcomes


Thismonth, in her regular column for Education Today, independent Specialist Teacher and Assessor Joanne Gladders considerswhymany schools are starting to focus on improving their young people’s vocabulary More andmore schools are start


ry. rting to include activities


to be completed both at school and at home aiming to increase vocabulary


ry knowledge. Why? Is it just the


sustained and valuable research latest ‘bandwagon?’Or is there


There is a wealth of research that underpins that underpins this drive?


the need for vocabulary to be enhanced. “Language op


“L aff


throughout primary ffe ts self-este


underp fects


“Vo “Vo Litera


Vocabulalary backg


Vocabulalary rature GCS


rpins progress


opens doors s,


huge role in a child’s’s fu ss, impacts


rs…in schoolsls, ts on atta


f-esteem and behavi future


(ICAN April 2018) ry isis a huge pre


CSE res ts more s, and it


ry and secondary ye rs, viour and plalay re life


dary years fe chances


es” redictor of how fa


kground will succeed at school and beyond”. ry skillsls at age 13 stronglyly predi esults


dict both thMath


far children fro ey


fr rom any ny


re stronglyly than socio-economic backg (Oxford Press April 2018)


ths and Englisish kground”


Young people’s vocabulary, both in terms of the number of words they know and the depth of knowledge they have about those words, underpins their learning and achievements within school/college, their social relationships and behaviour and their interaction within the wider world.


Vocabulary is key for young people to be able to read, understand, gain new perspectives, and change or confirm their world view.


Low levels of vocabulary can also impact on pupils’ confidence resulting in some becoming disengaged.


Vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension are interdependent. Research shows that vocabulary knowledge predicts reading ability and vice-versa.


A child/y/young person who struggles with language will soon switch off; feeling threatened rather than challenged when asked to read or write. A young person will be more likely to use a word in writing that they know they can spell. This leads to decreased use of subj within written tasks and exams.


bject specific words


Clearly, this is a huge area of need. Consider too, how much greater the need is for our young people that are disadvantaged in some way. For them the gulf is even wider. In order to do well at all the stages of their school career a pupil needs to be able to understand the language of examination papers. In addition, such strategies also improve pupils’ reading skills as they are better able to understand and infer information appropriately in texts in addition to supporting their writing.


Beck andMcKeown (1985) created a three-tiered system of vocabulary based upon target words.


majority of children’s’ everyday vocabularies.


Tier 1Words comprehend.


These words should not require any direct teacher instruction to


Tier 2Words These words are not necessarily specific to subject domains but require students to have a ‘mature’ vocabulary in order to comprehend the meaning of the word.


These words are often integral to a students’ comprehension of exam questions or core subject knowledge.


Tier 3Words These words are specific to subj bjects and only occur in unique


domains. These words require expert knowledge to explain to the students and aid comprehension.


Tier 2 words are therefore the key words that need to be targeted in order to improve your young people’s life chances. How do you target and increase vocabulary? Is vocabulary a key area of development within your school or does it need to be a key area for development?


July/ y/Augus t 2019 These are basic words which would usually appear in the


tainment s,


ays ys a


The psychological impact of dyslexia


Regular Education Today SEND contributor and Assistant Headteacher KATE SARGINSON this month examines the emotional impact of dyslexia.


With the figure estimated by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) to be at least 10%, schools have had to rapidly become more environments.


However, understanding dyslexia-friendly


and responding to a diagnosis in practical ways may only form a small part of the picture.What begins as an educational problem can develop into an emotional one. There is a growing understanding that dyslexia can have far reaching and long term psychological


impacts. If ignored, this can have serious consequences for children as they grow up and form their identity.


Self-esteem can be impacted by dyslexia. Children may feel frustration and embarrassment as they continue to struggle to master the skills that their peers appear to gain so easily. Repeatedly failing can result in feelings of inferiority and withdrawal. Friendships can be affected if children misunderstand language based humour, or struggle to keep pace with the conversation.With increased use of written communication online and through text messages, children can be conscious of having their literacy difficulties highlighted through these means and not


Without a diagnosis, there is no expla participate for fear of making a mistake.


children are experiencing. Despite it not


being the case, there is an nation for the difficulties


association of poor literacy skills equating with low intelligence. Children’s self-esteem can be eroded as they draw the inaccurate conclusion that they are stupid. Applying simplistic growth mind - set approaches can cause problems, as it isn’t a case of children simply trying harder. It can be extremely demoralising for a child to repeatedly try their best and not see a noticeable reward in doing so. Children may feel powerless when their amount of effort does not produce positive results. Success or failure in learning impacts on emotional development. Children may avoid literacy tasks by exhibiting poor behaviour and find ways to successfully mask their difficulties. Teachers need to be aware that poorly behaved children may have underlying difficulties that need to be recognised and responded to differently.


As children with dyslexia are more likely to experience low self- esteem and have an increased risk of depression, teaching and intervention approaches should have the explicit aim of helping to boost confidence and develop positive self-image. Children should be consulted about what helps and hinders them, and how they feel about themselves. There may be some simple steps teachers can take to reinforce to children with dyslexia that they understand their strengths and needs, and value them in the classroom. A considerate and empathetic teacher, who deploys dyslexia-friendly approaches, can make a huge difference. Children can be taught about their diagnosis so they can learn what it means to them, and grow in confidence to advocate for themselves.


Schools can become linked to negative emotions Instead of being the stimulating and nurturing environment they are intended to be. Schools now need to intentionally include wellbeing approaches as part of their provision anyway, but having a particular focus on supporting pupils with specific learning difficulties can reduce the risk of exposing these children to greater risk of more serious, long term mental health difficulties.


www .education-toda y.co.uk 19


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