Is Membean Beneficial?


Ioanna Tsompanellis

Students and teachers share their thoughts on Membean, a website designed to teach students vocabulary.

Gabrielle Rothenberg, Staff Editor

Students and teachers have varying opinions on Membean. 

Membean is a website designed to teach students new vocabulary and improve their understanding of current vocabulary.

Some students, however, believe that Membean training sessions, which range from 30-45 minutes per week, are too long.

“I think 45 minutes a week can be excessive and can be viewed as busywork, especially for students who really need time management help, and with as big workloads as we do have, personally in 11th grade,” PV Junior, AP Language and Composition student, and National Honors Society President, Rowan Gokhale said.

AP Language and Composition and English I teacher Tina Marchiano likes Membean because “it can be done on an individual basis.”  

Marchiano said that when she was a child, she would learn lists of different words, write sentences with them, and have quizzes to test her skills at the end of the week. Membean, on the other hand, allows time in class to be spent on other topics since the majority of the training is done at home. If a student knows a word, less time can be spent on that one and more time can be spent on words that they don’t understand.

PV Honors English I, College Prep Reading and Writing, and Public Speaking Teacher, Tracy Recine, said that Membean’s set-up makes it hard to gloss over and forget words.

“I think that the way [the website] is structured [gives] the students who do the training in the right way, meaning they don’t rush through it, a full understanding of the word as opposed to just memorizing a definition,” Recine said. “So, I do think that’s been helpful.”

Not all students agree on whether or not Membean is helpful. 

“I think most people won’t actually end up using the words that they learned,” PV Junior and AP Language and Composition student, Aimee Hoffman, said.

PV Freshman and Honors English I student, Taylor Ferrari, said that the words are typically synonyms for everyday words or more descriptive versions of those words. 

PV Freshman and English I student, Faith Choi, said that the words are better suited for essays than for conversation, but she has still learned a lot more vocabulary words than before. 

Teachers have also noticed that Membean has helped some students expand their vocabulary.

“I would say that I’ve definitely seen an improvement in word recognition,” Marchiano said. “Often I’ll say a word, and students will say ‘that’s a Membean word.’”

She then asks the students what the word means, and they can properly define it.

Marchiano said that she thinks that Membean has been a useful vocabulary tool in her experience.

“We will continue to use Membean next year,” Supervisor of English, Art & Libraries, Valerie Mattessich said. “We have worked with a trainer from Membean to provide feedback to the company on what worked and what didn’t this year and to learn more about how to maximize its benefits to students while keeping the workload manageable for them.”