Developing the Descriptive Vocabulary of High Needs Learners
New City College
At NCC, we teach the Eduqas English language specification. Creative writing accounts for 50% of the marks for component one. This means that it can
often be the deciding factor between grades. The purpose of the project was to develop high needs students’ use of descriptive vocabulary; we had previously attempted an initiative through silent reading which was largely unsuccessful because the students were not convinced or engaged. Having learnt from this, we decided that the new initiative needed to be fun. So, we decided to use a combination of quizzes and writing activities. We expected that students would find quizzes engaging as it is a form of gamification. Furthermore, the use of quizzes presented an opportunity to monitor progress without placing pressure on the students.
Some of our high needs students have difficulty with long-term memory and often rely on habit formation to improve recollection. Using quizzes at regular intervals was likely to mitigate issues they faced with recollecting information. In fact, recent studies on spaced retrieval have shown that regular revisiting of work benefits long-term memory and can be used to break up a long session to prevent concentration loss making it ideal for high needs students (Kelley, Evans and Kelley, 2018)
As an outcome, we hoped that students would improve their use of descriptive vocabulary and improve their responses to section B questions for component one.