Middlesbrough-based Lexonik, which provides specialist training to improve literacy at all levels of ability, is piloting a scheme with Teesside University to support international students to develop their academic vocabulary and language confidence.

The scheme, which is running with students over six-week periods, supports students in breaking down academic vocabulary, teaching their Latin and Greek roots in order to have a better understanding of their meaning and application.

Teesside University Business School is hosting the pilot with small groups of its international MA students, and encourages students to practise linking words, learning new vocabulary, and supporting their advanced level studies.

The Lexonik programme, which has already proved to be successful with children over the age of ten through to adults, aims to improve pronunciation and develop confidence for the students, for whom English is a second language, when conversing and delivering presentations, as well as enhancing comprehension.

Previous research into the Lexonik programme has shown increases to a student’s reading age by an average of 27 months after participating for the six weekly sessions.

Michelle Hicks, Business Growth Manager and Lexonik tutor, said: “The pilot scheme has been very successful with these particular students. They, themselves, have reported feeling more confident in attempting the challenging vocabulary that they’re coming across within their studies.

“I’ve seen them grow in terms of their pronunciation and their understanding of more complex vocabulary as well, so hopefully they’ll be able to go on and continue to develop because they’ve been taught the methodology behind the words.”

Warren Harrison, Associate Dean (International) at Teesside University Business School, said: “At the business school, we chose to work with Lexonik for our international students as a test to see whether their language ability could be enhanced. We wanted to improve the students’ confidence with the English language as well, which is really important to us.

“We’re always looking for ways to bring innovation and enhancement to the school and to the learning experience of our students.”

Lexonik CEO Claire Preston, who has personally taught English in Spain and Japan said “This is something we have been very keen to do for some time and are delighted that we are now able to demonstrate the impact of Lexonik within Higher Education.

“Academic vocabulary can be a huge challenge for any student, regardless of nationality and we were confident that our teaching methods would be transferrable and hugely beneficial with this student group.”

Elena, a Lexonik student from China, said: “It helps us to understand when native speakers talk to us. It helps us to remember more words and helps us to pronounce words much better than before.”