Explicit Teaching of Vocabulary
The explicit teaching of vocabulary is something that we have worked hard to embed within each subject. Our subject leaders have worked hard to ensure that vocabulary is mapped into schemes of learning according to progression, and this vocabulary is explicitly taught every lesson, in every subject and that this tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary is carefully aligned to our curriculum design. In lessons, students are encouraged to understand and use academic vocabulary. We aim to provide students with rich oral and written language environment in which they have multiple opportunities to hear, see and use new words in context creating both a vocabulary that is rich in both breadth and depth.
Our curriculum is reading and vocabulary rich: we offer regular reading beyond the curriculum opportunities, where teachers complete guided reciprocal-reading of non-fiction extracts with students. The choice of texts are related to the subject, but extend beyond the taught curriculum, to develop both a love of reading and spark an intellectual thirst for knowledge of the subject. For example, in Mathematics, our Year 8 students read an article about Alan Turing, enabling them to make links between the Mathematics curriculum and Computer Science curriculum.
Disciplinary literacy is imperative in our curriculum, and our subject leaders’ ensure that vocabulary is mapped into schemes of learning according to progression, and this vocabulary is explicitly taught every lesson, in every subject. Our teachers are trained in reciprocal reading approaches, and continuously work on developing students’ writing ability according to the subject – we work hard to teach our students explicitly what it means to write, for example, like a Scientist, Historian, Geographer.
We have worked collaboratively with faculties to create subject specific literacy plans rooted within that particular discipline, that address the barriers to accessing the curriculum related to reading, writing and communication. We have further supported teachers to define what effective reading, writing, and talk looks like in their subjects; for example, history teachers might discuss what reading strategies are deployed by historians to appraise historical sources.
We strive to address the academic challenge that out students face to write in different disciplines in an academic and structured way by teaching them the skills that they need to breakdown complex tasks and then transcribe and compose texts as an expert. Students are taught the benefits of planning and redrafting and editing their work to give them the motivation that they require to successfully arrive at the finished article.