Helping build the vocabulary of students

Posted on 16th April 2019

Bedales Head of Sciences Emily Seeber has helped author a new learning resource for teachers, made available by Oxford University Press (OUP).

Over half of teachers responding in recent market research conducted by OUP reported that at least 40% of their pupils lacked the vocabulary needed to properly access learning, with a worrying 69% of primary school teachers and 60% of secondary school teachers believing that this ‘word gap’ is increasing.

By way of redress, OUP in partnership with Teachit has created Closing the word gap: activities for the classroom, which proposes strategies and practical ideas for developing a vocabulary-rich environment, building vocabulary, and fostering a love of language in secondary classrooms, whatever the subject. Emily wrote the Science section which can be viewed here.

Emily says: “Without a fluent understanding of the language of science, students cannot decode the meaning of the ideas

they are learning. Given the number of complex ideas encountered by students in the science classroom, strategies which boost students’ vocabulary acquisition should be central to our teaching. Communication in science relies on a vast technical vocabulary of science-specific words, scientific interpretations of everyday terms, and a number of complex logical connectives which are used to link ideas.”

There is more information and access to English, Maths, Geography and History sections here.

Emily Seeber | Oxford University Press Word Gap | Closing the Word Gap: Science | Bedales Chemistry | Bedales Physics | Bedales Biology