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Title: The effectiveness of classroom vocabulary intervention for adolescents with language disorder
Author: Lowe, Hilary
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 539X
Awarding Body: City, University of London
Current Institution: City, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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Children who have language disorder frequently have difficulties with vocabulary acquisition, and these difficulties often persist into adolescence. Language disorder is known to be associated with long-term influences on a range of academic, social, emotional, health, and employment outcomes. Phonological-semantic intervention has been shown to be effective in enhancing the vocabulary skills of children with language disorder in small-group or individual settings, but less is known about vocabulary interventions for adolescents with language disorder or interventions in whole-class models of delivery. This thesis undertook three strands of enquiry: a systematic review; a survey of teaching and speech and language therapy practice; and an experimental effectiveness study. The systematic review of the evidence regarding vocabulary intervention with adolescents confirmed that the use of a phonological-semantic approach in a universal model of delivery is under-researched in this age group. The survey of mainstream secondary school teachers and speech and language therapists showed that a phonological-semantic approach is frequently used by speech and language therapists but less often by teachers. The experimental study investigated the effectiveness of phonological-semantic vocabulary intervention, delivered by teachers and embedded into the secondary school curriculum in a whole-class model of delivery, for adolescents with language disorder. In the intervention study, 78 adolescents with language disorder aged 11 – 13 years were taught science curriculum words by teachers in class, under two conditions: 1) 10 words taught through usual teaching practice; and 2) 10 matched words taught using an experimental intervention incorporating phonological-semantic activities, embedded into the teaching of the syllabus. Ten matched control words received no intervention. Word knowledge was assessed at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and follow-up timepoints. The main findings of the study were that: the experimental classroom vocabulary intervention was more effective than usual teaching practice in increasing the word knowledge of participating students; there was a high degree of acceptability for the intervention activities amongst both students and teachers; and there were mixed preferences amongst students for whole-class, small-group, and individual models of intervention delivery. Clinical and teaching implications include the importance of intervening during the adolescent years, with classroom vocabulary intervention being a viable option for collaborative teacher and speech and language therapy practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P Language and Literature ; RJ101 Child Health. Child health services