During my PGCE I had a class of eight students in Year 11 studying for the OCR GCSE in Latin who had to master knowledge of 475 words for their exams. Their recent unseen translations demonstrated weak performances due to poor vocabulary knowledge. On interviewing the students, most lacked a systematic approach to learning vocabulary. Since the end-goal of studying Latin today is more often the reading of ancient texts, the requirements for vocabulary learning differs from that of other languages. Composing sentences in Latin is an increasingly rare skill too. Thus by rarely needing to produce Latin, students have no means of actively practising the language. Whilst students often find learning vocabulary arduous, I found that with Latin students find it particularly difficult to retain knowledge. In the school the GCSE Latin lessons are teacher-led and mostly involve the dissemination of information for the students to record and process. The pressure of covering the exam syllabus and difficulty of integrating vocabulary activities into this class led me to the possible solution presented by Memrise.
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