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School Closures Might Impact Students’ Vocab, Oxford Research Reveals


According to a research published by Oxford University Press in collaboration with Educational Research Forum, nationwide school closure ensued by COVID-19 pandemic can adversely impact children’s vocabulary development, widening the word gap. Students in Indian schools can experience low self-confidence due to poor advancement in building vocabulary.

Almost 92 percent of teachers opine that school shutdown will aggravate the already pervasive problem of word gap as 73 percent believe that online learning will hinder students’ vocabulary development while 69 percent reported that students under seven years will mostly bear the brunt of it as confirmed by the research led by Oxford.

The change will be most significant in the transitory stage between primary to secondary school posing a serious challenge to teachers in handling language development as they return to the classroom once the schools reopen.

A research study— Vocabulary Demands of Television Programs authored by Stuart Webb and Michael P H Rodgers, Victoria University of Wellington, shows that during the ongoing pandemic, students were keen to learn new language through foreign language television programs. Television has a potential role to play in aiding language development, and help students learn new words and phrases. The result will be similar to what students would learn through reading.

Initially, the progress might take time as children try to transition from viewing the television content with first language subtitles to second language subtitles and finally without any subtitles. Comprehensibility will improve with sufficient exposure to the foreign language shows. The ability to grasp and absorb new languages can be boosted significantly with regulated watching of TV shows. Additionally, repeated and ‘sequential viewing’ can enhance children’s fluency and help them learn faster with thorough understanding of story arcs and character development.

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