Jude Hunton, the organiser of ResearchED Rugby, Deputy Head at Ashlawn School in Warwickshire, and a keen proponent of evidence-based learning, is investigating explicit vocabulary teaching. From September 2018 he will be using an ONVU LessonVU system to record, evaluate and share his teaching as part of the process.
This blog will keep you up to date with his progress month by month – sign up for the ONVU Leaning Newsletter here to be informed of new development.
Episode 1: The Project Outline
I’m keen to explore the impact of teaching vocabulary explicitly at different stages within the school. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and felt instinctively was right to do. It’s important because a broad knowledge of vocabulary over time enables independence and narrows the achievement gap – and it’s historically often been overlooked by English teachers.
A number of my colleagues will be looking at this in Year 7, while I will focus on my Year 10 class – the Y7 colleagues won’t be using the ONVU camera unless they opt in but my intention is to be able to make available examples of how impart knowledge and enable student understanding, as well as reviewing my own teaching generally.
My research will look at different techniques suggested by experts in this area – my reference texts are ‘Teach Like a Champion’ by Doug Lemov, ‘Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction’ by Isabel Beck, Margaret McKeown and Linda Kucan and ‘Learning as a Generative Activity’ by Logan Fiorella and Richard Mayer.
For example, I’ll be taking principles from Beck’s book – taking my students’ current knowledge and introducing ‘Tier 2’ vocabulary – words that have similar meanings to what they currently understand but are more sophisticated. I want to give them enough vocabulary to become independent and I’ll do this by giving them increasingly challenging activities with different contexts over time.
While this research project isn’t directly in response to GCSE changes, there is a link – curriculum reform at GCSE means it is better at measuring learning over time – being more knowledgeable and able with vocabulary is a great step to achieving this.
I’ll monitor how things are going by looking at the progress of my class versus how we did last year and versus other year 10 classes. I’ll start with some simple tests and check how things evolve over the year. I’ll also measure the performance of the Y7 cohort in their curriculum of richer tier 2 words against previous Y7 cohorts.
My biggest concerns at the moment are about GDPR issues around video in classrooms – how we notify parents, students and staff and do this in a way that other schools have found acceptable. The rest of the technical side seems fine. But I’m looking forward to getting started in September.