Engagement, Resilience and Vocabulary

Dr Catherine McPartland (mentor)

Further Education is often described as providing a ‘second chance’ in education and there can be no doubt these particular projects enabled learners to seize the opportunity.  Many vocational learners arrive at Further Education institutions lacking confidence in their abilities, particularly in English and maths. Their motivation and self-belief are often low and they frequently fail to understand how improving English and maths can help them achieve in their main subject, giving them additional life skills and employment opportunities.

As well as providing learners with tools to improve English and maths it is vital to encourage a ‘can do ’attitude, so building the necessary confidence to believe in themselves and that they can be successful.

Using a range of different approaches each project team nurtured their learners, working patiently to enable them to overcome their initial resistance, providing the right level of ‘stretch and challenge’ to empower learners to engage in learning, recognise their achievements and strive for further success.

As a result of the projects, many learners achieved far more than they imagined they would. This is a major achievement for the teaching teams involved in the projects who used their professional skills and knowledge of teaching, learning and assessment to support learners whilst additionally further developing these skills through participation in the projects and professional development activities.

It was an absolute pleasure, and inspiring experience, to work with such dedicated professionals witnessing and contributing to the positive impact their work had on learners and others within their organisations.

Engagement and Exam Preparation: Warrington Vale Royal College
This project focused on the development of specific English and maths skills in order to promote exam preparation in a small cohort of GCSE resit students. In maths, the focus was to use Kerboodle, an online, interactive textbook resource, to enhance teaching, learning and assessment (TLA) particularly of measure, shape and space (MSS). In English, the focus was to improve TLA around the creative writing process, using online resources and visualisers.

Resilience: The Sheffield College
This project addressed the issue of student resilience in the learning and teaching of GCSE English Language and Functional Skills English. Teachers focused on employing and refining a range of techniques to enable students to explore their thoughts, feelings and perceptions of themselves as learners.

Developing High Level Vocabulary: Reaseheath College
This project aimed to enrich learners’ vocabularies by adopting a deliberate, explicit approach to vocabulary instruction through introducing a short, finite list of high value words which learners were exposed to recurrently and encouraged to use in their own writing.

Watch the group presentations at the final dissemination event by clicking play (to the right).

Access their full reports below.

Engagement and Exam Preparation

Warrington Vale Royal College

Project Number: 3


The Sheffield College

Project Number: 4

Developing High Level Vocabulary

Reaseheath College

Project Number: 5