SPOTLIGHT ON SEND A strong vocabulary is vital

In her October 2019 article for Education Today on SEND, independent Specialist Teacher and Assessor JOANNE GLADDERS continued her look at improving pupils’ vocabulary.

The beginning of a new school year is a good time to reflect on what we do and how we do it. In my previous article I considered why many schools are starting to focus on improving their pupils’ vocabulary. The key research that underpins the work we have started this term at a school I work in is: School-aged children typically learn

between 2000 and 3000 new words each year, about 5 to 8 words per day. (Nippold 2007)

Children with a poor vocabulary at 5 years are four times more likely to

struggle with reading in adulthood and three times more likely to have mental health issues. Children from lower-income families hear around 30 million fewer words

than children from higher-income families by the time they are 4 years old (Hart & Risely 2003). Vocabulary skills at age 13 strongly predict both Maths and English

Literature GCSE results, more strongly than socio-economic background. On average, secondary school teachers report that 43% of Year 7 pupils

have a limited vocabulary to the extent that it affects their learning. (Oxford Press April 2018) Vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension are interdependent.

Research shows that vocabulary knowledge predicts reading ability and vice-versa. The key point to note is that young people need to understand 95% of

words in a text to ensure comprehension of a passage. 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. A strong vocabulary is key for young people to be able to read,

understand, gain new perspectives, and change or confirm their world view.

The key question for a practitioner is how do I develop vocabulary knowledge? When teaching new words, remember: • Repetition is key • Dictionary definitions alone are not enough • If possible, show pupils what words mean using context and visuals • Teach all aspects of the word (semantic, phonological, grammatical and orthographical)

Strategies could include: • Look at the size and shape of the word • The use of word maps to record their learning on • Colour code the spelling patterns or syllables • Can they add a picture to it to aid memory? Or create it visually? • Teach the young people to capitalize on their preferred learning strategy and use this to aid their learning

• Create the word with post it notes or letter tiles • Explore multiple choice questions that offer examples of the word in use • The use of word searches to track and reinforce • Repetition orally to hear the word in context • Give examples of the word in use – oral, written, highlight key elements • Games – Blockbusters, Matching, Crosswords • Rhymes and raps!

An excellent source of inspiration I have found is the book “Closing the

Vocabulary Gap” by Alex Quigley. It is full of practical strategies to aid the teaching of vocabulary and identifies key academic words to focus on. Elklan also has good examples of vocabulary maps that can be used to explore all the different aspects of a word. How will you endeavour to ‘close the gap’ in your young people’s learning of vocabulary this year?

Editor’s Choice 2020

Challenging ourselves to improve learning

outcomes In her December 2019 article for Education Today on SEND, independent Specialist Teacher and Assessor JOANNE GLADDERS stressed the importance of practitioners continuing to challenge themselves to improve learning outcomes for all pupils.

Picture the scene; every learner within our schools accessing strategies and learning that meets their individual needs. Every learner within our schools reaching their full potential regardless of their learning needs. I recently attended a dyslexia and dyscalculia conference and the main message was to always challenge what we do as practitioners in order to improve learning for all our young people. In the normal working day, with the challenges that face us as

practitioners, this might appear as a bridge too far at times. Surely though, if we identify what helps each individual learner’s needs then we move away from identifying which learners need help and providing intervention for a few into providing prevention for all. Approximately 20% of the population are dyslexic, 6 in a class of 30. Of these, 4% are severely affected and require specialist support. In addition to that 20% there is a range of further learning needs within our classes. Neil McKay, who created the Dyslexia Friendly School, advocates

that if we make our classrooms and lessons dyslexia-friendly, we are catering for all learners and enabling them to make progress. His mantra is that “Most can learn most things given enough time and appropriate teaching.” Neil suggests that only 15% of a lesson should be new information; that at least 80% of the class need to be firm in their current learning before moving on and that all lessons should build on previous learning by beginning with a short review of that previous learning. Also, at the end of each lesson there should be an opportunity for learners to demonstrate mastery. Neil believes that in an ideal world a lesson should have high impact with consolidation strategies. His ideal world lesson looks like this:

Start with a review of the previous lesson.

Teach new concepts and skills – teach in a way that they are right first time.

Drill down into the learning from the previous lesson.

Check for impact at least twice through AFL, Quizzes etc

Much less new stuff in each lesson but build upon learning.

80% FIRM in their learning before moving on.

End with a learning check from the current lesson. If time is spent ensuring that learners understand and engage with

their learning in the long run, this will pay dividends in their achievements. Unfortunately, with the swift pace of our curriculum and the sheer amount of subject matter to be taught, is this unrealistic? Perhaps time could be given to consolidation in the ‘non examination years’ to enable the building blocks of learning to be cemented into place. So, is the scene of every learner within our schools accessing

strategies and learning that meets their individual needs pie in the sky thinking, or could it be a reality with some tweaking of our curriculum delivery and rethinking how we do things? That’s the challenge, will you rise to it? 21

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68