Membean is a vocabulary learning website that is new to the Wesleyan curriculum. It was piloted last year in the eleventh grade British Literature classes. Since there was positive feedback, the English department decided to make it a school wide assignment. Each week, students must achieve a certain number of minutes of studying vocabulary. Research shows that by learning vocabulary in different fashions repetitively students will be ensured to retain what they have studied.
“One major benefit of using Membean instead of the Classical Root Books is time. Students now have the decision on when they want to do their vocabulary,” said department chair Joe Tamel. English teachers do not have to take time out of their class schedule to spend time on vocabulary. Wesleyan students are “’learning in the 21st century,’” said Tamel.
Sophomore Lindsay Rappe said, “Membean is a great program to learn vocabulary because it constantly tests you until you know the words.”
The goal of Membean is for students to study vocabulary without having a traditional quiz or test. Wesleyan has used other vocabulary systems in the past, including The Classic Root Book and Word Voyage. With these books in the curriculum, teachers would have to put aside their lesson plan to make time for students to study vocabulary. Membean is a more efficient vocabulary supplement to what the students already have for that class.
Even though Membean will be helpful in the long-run, students are having a hard time grasping the positives from the program. Junior Ryan Gomes said, “When I wake up in the morning, I wake up happy, for about five seconds, then I realize I didn’t do my membean. Then I go to school crying.”
English teacher Dawson Zimmerman tested Membean with a few of his classes and received mixed reviews. Several students had a hard time remembering to do their Membean assignments. At the end of the year Zimmerman gave the students a chance to make up their missed assignments by doing three times more than what they originally had to do. This led to hours of vocabulary study, but students were able to bring back up their grade and remove the zeros out of their grade book. Zimmerman said, “There has been higher success in Membean than having students memorize a list of words and then forgetting then right after [they are tested on them].”
Throughout the year, students will spend more time on Membean learning plenty of vocabulary words. The ultimate goal is for students to be able to apply Membean vocabulary in their day-to-day life.