Unlocking every individual's potential

Matthew Arnold School in Oxford is a successful comprehensive school for 11-18 year olds where all staff work hard towards the aim to unlock every individual's potential. One way in which the school is supporting this ethos is in the recent introduction of Vocab Express in its languages department. John Robertson, head of MFL, shares with us his introduction to Vocab Express.

“As a head of department for MFL, I receive a steady stream of adverts for different resources and products, all promising to improve student results in languages, or enhance their experience in some way. This means it’s really hard to pick out the ones that are affordable and will genuinely make a difference to the learners. But I think I’ve certainly found one in Vocab Express. The potential it has to get students learning GCSE vocabulary thoroughly and regularly is great! In many ways it is a simple, yet very effective idea.

“Since signing up our current Year 10 classes a couple of weeks ago, I have been delighted at the response from students. The competitive element of being able to rank everyone’s progress in a league table has lead to lots of practice going on at home, with some people quadrupling their scores from one lesson to the next. It’s really easy to keep tabs on who is using the site and how frequently, as well as what topics have been learned and how well.

“I am a massive geek and love all things technological, so having the use of a class set of iPads in our department has been brilliant for me and I think other teachers in the department have really benefitted too. That has made it really easy to get people started on Vocab Express. But you really don’t have to be at all geeky these days to bring technology into your classroom and have it impact positively on learning. The students we teach really are the natives when it comes to the use of mobile technology, so if there is something you get stuck on, chances are one of the students will be able to figure it out for you. I don’t think that technology is necessarily going to replace traditional methods of language teaching and learning for the time being, but I believe there is now a place for both and that both are worthwhile and engaging.”

Case Study

Matthew Arnold School

July 2014