The Canadian International School Abu Dhabi Harnesses Insights Into Student Learning
Erin Edmundson was familiar with Membean before arriving in The United Arab Emirates; she recalled former science colleagues remarking that students kept saying, “Hey, that's a Membean word!” while reading their textbooks. Erin wanted to promote academic excellence for all of her students in Abu Dhabi, and she recognized Membean's promise as a tool to realize this goal.
“Everything we teach is taught with language; if language is a barrier, kids can't unlock the content. Membean improves students' reading comprehension, so it benefits teachers in all of our subject areas.”
As in many international schools, Erin notes that the disparate needs of the students served by the Canadian International School Abu Dhabi make traditional, leveled vocabulary programs a poor fit. However, Membean benefits the full range of scholars the school serves. Non-native English speakers profit from increasing their basic vocabularies, and gifted students are challenged by the different assessments and creative-writing opportunities Membean provides.
“No bespoke vocabulary list could meet the needs of even five students in any given class. Our kids' experiences are wide-ranging and unique; it's essential for us to have a differentiated platform. Membean's personalization translates well to the needs of an extremely varied expatriate population.”
Membean's wide-ranging flexibility assists Erin in helping all students excel. Even so, student engagement can be challenging. Consistent practice sessions result in deep, lasting knowledge, but simply explaining this doesn't guarantee student compliance. However, Membean's detailed reports evaluating student engagement, which can be easily compared against assessment results, certainly help teachers implement strategies to improve buy-in.
“We have harnessed teenagers' self-absorption to our advantage. In the same way they love to take ‘selfies,’ kids love to see data about themselves. Any time you're willing to sit down with a child to show them a different picture of who they are and how they learn, you have their attention. ”
Erin has also found these reports incredibly useful to share with colleagues and administrators. CIS Abu Dhabi's philosophy is to focus on individuals, and the wealth of data Membean provides for each student furnishes insights into so much more than vocabulary acquisition. Faculty are learning about student concentration and engagement over time. As Erin sees it, “Differentiation doesn't get any better than that. That's why I'm always beating my Membean drum.”