Background and Challenges

Hampton School is a leading, respected independent day school for boys aged 11-18 in South-West London. With a long history of academic success, the school strives to help students maximise their potential with the provision of a full, rounded education. This is reflected strongly in a well-regarded modern languages department which takes pride in the progress it inspires. Alex Frazer, head of modern languages, explains that staff are always on the lookout for new ways to engage students: “By providing the opportunities to succeed in a stimulating and engaging manner, we hope that they are set on the path to be strong independent learners throughout life.”

Solution and Benefits

Hampton School first began working with Vocab Express in 2010 after hearing of the popularity of the online application from students at a nearby school. Hampton has since established Vocab Express for use with students throughout the school studying French, German, Spanish and Mandarin.

Alex feels that Vocab Express is having a significant impact on the level of engagement and motivation in the students. Staff are keen to capitalise on the boys’ competitive nature to help the learning process, and the informal competition that Vocab Express offers has proven addictive. Alex comments: “The friendly scoreboard system of Vocab Express allows students to learn while they play for points. Vocab Express is intellectually rigorous in needing to reach a standard of perfection to gain these sought-after points. But it works in a way that is accessible and familiar to the students from their own pursuits. Many do not realise the extent to which they are learning!”

Alex believes that a key benefit of Vocab Express lies in its take home-ability: “By setting tasks on it for homework, it encourages independent learning which is incredibly important for us. Whether students are revising or improving core vocabulary skills, the independent nature means that the students can take ownership and use it on their own terms to progress at a pace that suits them.”

Hampton School became closely involved in the development of Mandarin resources for Vocab Express. Native-speaker teacher Liming Barrett drew on her experience inspiring boys to excellent GCSE results in order to advise on the most useful selections of vocabulary. Alex explains: “Vocab Express has worked with a number of Modern Languages departments throughout the development process to ensure that the application is as usable and beneficial as possible. They have been very open to suggestions and take an interest in our experiences. This personal, hands-on approach and the development of a relationship with users is something that people enjoy.”

Future plans

The popularity of Vocab Express with students across the age range means that Hampton School is continuing to expand its use to strengthen the independent learning process. The addition this year of AS and A Level vocabulary is a boon for Sixth Formers.

Case Study

Hampton School

Hampton, Middlesex
July 2011