Nov 9, 2018
In this special episode of ‘The Staffroom’, we spoke to UK based
former English teacher, author and director of research, Alex
Alex spoke to us about his recent book, ‘Closing
the Vocabulary Gap’ and gave us insightful research based
expert knowledge on the importance of vocabulary in education.
We found Alex’s ideas and perspectives on vocabulary both
inspiring and intelligent. As English teachers, his insights into
creating word-rich classrooms where students deconstruct vocabulary
and build knowledge is something we found particularly
Throughout our chat with Alex, we were fortunate enough to speak
about the topics below. Here’s a break-down of Alex’s responses
complete with time-stamps:
- At what point in Alex’s career did he decide to focus on
- Why does Alex believe that a lack of vocabulary is a world-wide
issue for children? (6:17)
- What does Alex mean by ‘the vocabulary gap’ and what does he
say that his book sets out to do? (7:15)
- Why doesn’t Alex think it’s too late for children over the age
of 5 to develop their vocabulary capacity? (10:46)
- How does Alex describe his ideas on ‘word-depth’ and what does
he say about making children more ‘word conscious’? (13:05)
- How does Alex define etymology and morphology? Why does he
believe they play a vital role in the development of children’s
- When it comes to teaching academic vocabulary, how does Alex
explain the ‘three-tiered hierarchy for words’ approach?
- Does Alex think that teachers have become too lazy to teach
vocabulary? Why does Alex think that teachers don’t refer to Tier 2
words enough? (28:18)
- What are Alex’s views on spelling tests? What does he suggest
are better ways for teachers to teach spelling? (32:16)
- What does Alex say about creating memorable ‘hooks’ for
students to aid the development of vocabulary and the building of
- What does Alex think that all teachers should know about
teaching reading effectively? Why does Alex believe that reading is
incredibly valuable for the development of vocabulary? (42:16)
If you’d like further information about Alex, you can check-out
his website, www.theconfidentteacher.com.
Also, if you’d like to read more of Alex’s published work, you can
find a list of his books on Amazon where
they are available to purchase.
We hope you enjoy this episode of The
Staffroom and found Alex’s words as fascinating as we did.
We can’t wait to make vocabulary a focus in our classroom
Until next time!
Jamie, Michael and Tessa