• Ellie Bristow

    I would appreciate any comments/thoughts about the following problems and difficulties I face with this research.

    1) Originally, the vocabulary development module was to be taught face-to-face. However, due to disruption caused by COVID-19 and the unlikelihood of being able to go to a school as an external visitor, I need to move this module online. Does anyone have any advice, thoughts, comments or questions about the platform or programmes I could use to do this? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    2) In order to expand my literature search, I am beginning to investigate the role of more general metalinguistic skills, such as phonetic awareness, grammatical awareness etc., to look at the broader role metalinguistic features play in children’s vocabulary development. In part, I am doing this to understand whether these features help to predict children’s reading/language comprehension as they get older, but also because I am finding it difficult to find literature specifically about the role of morphological awareness in older children’s/teenager’s reading and language comprehension ability. Have you read/heard of/seen any authors or studies that could help me expand this area of my search?

  • Alison Wray

    Ellie, what an interesting and worthwhile piece of research. With regard to your second question, there is very likely to be relevant information for you that has been done in relation to the teaching of English as a second/foreign language. I know it’s one step removed from what you are doing, but it’s such a very well researched domain that it’s likely there will be some useful studies (and literature reviews) for you there. A couple of places for you to look in particular are:
    1. Paul Meara’s Lognostics site: which summarises all the research done on vocabulary acquisition. Also, since Paul lives in Cardiff and is an Honorary Prof in CLCR, he is someone you could talk to – just ask me for an introduction (my email address is on the CLCR staff site).
    2. The writings of Paul Nation, most of which are now available on line I think,
    Hope this is useful

  • Kate Barber

    Hi Ellie

    I’m afraid I don’t have anything useful to add to this thread as it is outside my area of research but I just wanted to say how absolutely brilliant your poster is and how well you’ve managed to sum up everything you’re doing. It sounds like you’ve had a difficult time lately in trying to find ways over the obstacles put in your research path – all the very best of luck in finding a new way through.


  • Ellie Bristow

    Hi Kate,

    That’s really lovely to read, thank you! I’m glad it reads okay and makes some sense! It has all become very tricky. The age of my participants adds to all the complications too! I’m sure it’ll get there…eventually!

    Best wishes,

  • Alex Carr

    Hey Ellie,

    This is a great poster! Really nice use of visuals and colour! In relation to your first question, I don’t know if this might sound too obvious, but I think it would be insightful to maybe email the schools that you have already attended and see what platforms and software they have been using with their students? If they have been using any online software, they would probably be able to let you know some of the pros and cons of their hands-on experience with with it. I would also say (once again not experienced) that platforms made by either Google or Microsoft have been good during this lockdown, and both have made a continued effort to adapt and improve their programs, e.g. teams.

  • Elisa Ramirez

    Hi Ellie,

    First of all, what an amazing poster you’ve made! Not only is it aesthetically pleasing to look at, you’ve also managed to condense quite a lot of information in a very clear way, so congratulations.

    With regard to your second question, I don’t know if you will find this useful, but I remember from a semantics module I took during my MPhil a paper on metacongnitivism and word-learning. I’ve got the paper, so I can either email it to you or give you the details if you think it might be useful to you. Regarding teenagers (again, this might not be useful) I also remember reading a paper by Tagliamonte regarding the language of adolescents (and many more about children’s acquisition in general).

    Congrats again for your superb poster and best of luck as ever with your research!


  • Ellie Bristow

    Thank you all for taking the time to look at my poster and post really interesting and useful questions and comments.

    Alison – Thank you very much for the literature search suggestions. It would be great to talk to Paul. I will email you in the morning to set up an introduction. I have looked at some of Nation’s work, but will certainly investigate further. Likewise I have ventured a little into second/foreign language acquisition but again, need to do more. Lots of the materials I’ve developed for the module are based on second/foreign language acquisition games-based pedagogy so I shall definitely revisit. Thanks again for taking the time to look at my poster and comment.

    Alex – Thank you! Love an infographic! They’re really useful suggestions. I have been in touch with several teachers throughout lockdown and the issue is that each school is using different technology and children’s email addresses give them varied access to online platforms like Microsoft teams/Google classroom. There’s no consistency with what’s being used. Unfortunately, each also has their restrictions for what I’m hoping to do in terms of the external programmes I’ll need to use for quizzes etc. The programmes also aren’t compatible with one another so it would be double the work to create the module in two separate spaces (and vary the learner experience). I’m hoping to find something more central that all could access.

    Elisa – Thank you! I’m glad you find it okay to follow and that the flow is clear (took a long time!). It would be really good to look at that paper, thank you. I shall email you in the morning to get the reference. I have read Tagliamonte’s work and there’s some really useful methodological theories/approaches to working with teenagers which I’ve referenced in my work. Thanks again for your support! :)

  • Katy Jones

    Fabulous poster Ellie! In terms of Q1, I think you’ll have to go with whatever the school(s) are using to teach their students online. If you’re still using the high school you worked with for your MA dissertation, then they are using Teams for all communication and teaching. Another problem is that in some schools there are safeguarding issues around ‘live’ teaching (i.e. the teacher isn’t permitted to see inside the pupils’ homes), so I really think you’ll need to work with the schools to come up with the best course of action. Good luck!

  • Ellie Bristow

    Thanks Katy! Yes, it may perhaps be the case of following the majority and just focussing on collecting data from schools that use that software. I think Teams has more options within it, so that’s helpful too! The live teaching aspect is very complicated and something I need to look into further. I was thinking that recordings of tutorials that students can play at their own pace may be the way to go. Thank you for your comment and looking at my poster!

  • Debbie Cabral

    Hi, Ellie!
    I am sorry I can’t help you with your questions…. but I would like to pointout the importance of the work you are doing and how many people you can help with your findings! You are amazing!

  • Kate Kavanagh

    Hi Ellie, thanks for the poster! I struggled a little bit with all the different colours and busyness in the middle, but it seems like I’m the odd one out on that front! The graphics are certainly very personable and seem fitting for a school environment, and you’ve described your project very clearly :) Regarding your online platform, I’ve been enjoying the way something as simple as these comments sections has been working during this conference, and maybe that’s something you could harness alongside presenting your own video content? Cheers!

  • Ellie Bristow

    Debbie – thank you! I really hope the findings will be of use and can help all sorts of different learners with their vocabulary progress!

    Kate – I was worried about the graphics being a bit busy so it’s certainly something I’ll think about next time. However, I’m glad the project purpose and aims are clear from the poster! That’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about. One of my other concerns (one among many!!) is ‘technology poverty’ with my targeted participants and the ages of my participants too. I wonder if a discussion like this may be a little difficult for younger children, especially those who find reading/writing difficult. That being said it could be a great way to keep things interactive. I shall do further thinking!

  • Gerard O'Grady

    Hi Ellen, you have produced a very clear and informative poster. Have you considered considering this from a sociological point of view – Bernstein and more recent developments such as Legitimation Code Theory for instance? I hope covid-19 doesn’t have too much of a negative impact on your plans.

  • Ellie Bristow

    Hi Gerard, thank you for taking the time to look at my poster. As I get further into my literature searches, I think the sociological aspects of this project will become more important to consider. In my review with Tereza, she mentioned looking at Bernstein’s work and I shall also do further research into the pedagogical implications of LCT. Thank you – still trying to think things through!

  • Virpi Ylanne

    Hi Ellie, a lovely, informative poster (although, like Kate, I found the middle section perhaps a bit too colourful)! I agree with what has been said above, that you should go with whatever the majority of the schools use and the children are used to, and try to keep things simple. The teachers should have quite a bit of insight after the lockdown, too. A great project, good luck, and well done for making progress in having to re-think the approach from the original idea (which I remember from the ethics application).

  • Ellie Bristow

    Hi Virpi, thank you for taking the time to look at my poster. I shall reduce the busyness next time to make sure it’s as clear as possible for everyone! I will definitely take my time with investigating the different options and speaking to schools to make sure I choose what is most viable, practical and accessible for the schools. Thank you (sorry you had to read such a long application which may now have to change!!).

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