Tag Archives: Vocabulary

Blog of the Week: 10 January 2020 – Bigger Than Words – It’s Meanings We Need to Focus On

Last weekend, I did a session on vocabulary for a National Association of Advisors in English conference, in which I presented a range of arguments, some of which I have already shared in previous blogs and in different contexts, some of which I have developed further. In brief here are some of the arguments I put forward.

  1. The ‘30 million word vocabulary gap’ research should no longer be used to argue for more work on vocabulary in classrooms. It dates from 1995, has been comprehensively critiqued for its limited size and methodology and its claims have not been replicated since. Indeed, the most recent attempt to repeat its work (by Sperry, Sperry and Miller), with a more legitimate methodology, failed to deliver the same results. There is much new research too on the greater significance of the quality of interaction as opposed to quantity of words in the early years (Dr Jill Gilkerson, Dale Walker and others).
  2. Even if it did have any credence, what would its value be in relation to older students? Even if one thought it might have any value, the Hart Risely study was focused only on children of 7 months to 3 years old and their learning of language in the home. This should not be uncritically extended to relate to the language of …

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Blog of the Week: 26 September 2019 – This much I know about…how I have transformed my own teaching

johntomsett

I have been a teacher for 31 years, a Headteacher for 16 years and, at the age of 54, this much I know about how I have transformed my own teaching.

I never thought I would transform my teaching in my 50s.

After 31 years of being in the classroom, I have never enjoyed my teaching more. For the last term I have been teaching Business Studies, a new subject for me. We had a challenging, 22 student, all-male Year 10 class. Relationships in the class were broken. I agreed with the teacher that I would remove the ten most disruptive students and teach them myself. When I told those students to stand up, pick up their bags and follow me at the beginning of their first lesson after Easter, they had no idea what was going on. I took them to my office, cramped them round my meeting…

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Blog of the Week: The 3D curriculum that promotes remembering

primarytimerydotcom

In my previous blog I explained about how memory works, and how teachers can use strategies from cognitive science such as retrieval practice to promote long term learning. After all, the learned curriculum is the only curriculum that actually counts in the end.

The curriculum is the means by which we ensure that all our children get their fair share of the rich cultural inheritance our world affords.  A good curriculum empowers children with the knowledge they are entitled to: knowledge that will nourish both them and the society of which they are members. Because, as Angela Rayner, Labour shadow education secretary says, knowledge belongs to the many, not the few.

But if children don’t remember what we have taught them, then even the richest curriculum is pointless. Knowledge can’t empower if it is forgotten. So as well as thinking about what is the richest, best material to put into…

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Blog of the Week: 19 October 2018 – A focus on knowledge: Vocabulary rich teaching

missdcoxblog

This is the first in a series of blogs on how I think my teaching has become more ‘knowledge rich’. The summary of what this means is in the first post here. This post will focus on how I have developed my teaching of subject vocabulary to the stage where I think it can be classed as ‘vocabulary rich’.

vocab

My view of the importance of subject vocabulary has evolved. When I first taught I didn’t put much emphasis on words as I felt that the subject content was more important and that subject vocabulary came after the learning of concepts. In the first specification of GCSE that I taught, the first question on the paper was always a keyword, 2 mark question. They needed to write the correct definition. I saw this as something they needed to learn and it was almost separate to further learning. I created subject…

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Blog of the Week: 25 May 2018 – My Teaching: Nine Things I’ve Changed

We’re well over a week into exam season, so I thought now would be a reasonable time to reflect on the things I’ve done differently this year.  Below is a list of some of the stuff I’ve focused on, along with a few resources.  A folder with everything in can be accessed here so you don’t have to click on the individual links.

1. I’ve got rid of lesson objectives

Typically, each of my lessons now open with a broad question.  How is Macbeth’s state of mind presented in A1S7? – that sort of thing.  Sometimes, the same question spans a number of different lessons.  Typically, towards the end of each unit of work and beyond, I review the key ones with the class.  Examples here.

2. I’ve used knowledge organisers

I’ve pinched quite a few and constructed a couple of my own.  I’ve also got students to…

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