Membean Controversy


Adam George , Co-Editor in Chief

The “comprehensive, engaging vocabulary building” website Membean, has been implemented into over 4,600 schools nationwide, and has crowned itself as the most effective site for learning vocabulary. Membean can be useful in that aspect, but I think that students aren’t really reaching their full potential with the software.

Membean appears to be a beneficial website that allow students to engage with terms that they are unfamiliar with. However, an issue arises when students become lazy, and just mindlessly answer the questions with no regard to learning. Students become obsessed with merely completing the alotted time required for a certain class and grade, and sometimes aren’t concerned with learning in the slightest.

Ontario High School senior, Rodrigo Gutierrez, stated, “I just completed my minutes for a grade.” He also said “I never really pay attention when I do it. I just randomly click on words to get it done.”

Ontario High School educator and Honors English Teacher, Judy Jackson, claimed “I think Membean works for students who focus on it and take it seriously, and I do think that it is reflected in their writing and also in their understanding during reading.” The controversy is two sided, and comes down to whether or not the student is willing to put time aside to learn vocabulary and benefit from the site.

From my own personal experience with Membean, I think the site has proved to be very useful in futhering my own vocabulary and ability to use more sophisticated words, but at the same time, I have noticed that very laborious sessions of Membean dry out my motivation to learn. At the beginning of every session, my brain is fresh, and ready to learn a variety of new words and word roots that I am unfamiliar with, but after a solid 30 or 40 minutes of it, I become mentally exhausted.

The other issue I have noticed is that when you choose not to pay attention, you don’t perform well on the membean tests teachers assign from time to time. In my own personal experience, membean has had a massive impact on the gradebook, and a bad test score can be detrimental to your overall letter grade.

At this point in my junior year of high school, I have recognized the importance of membean to improving a student’s vocabulary; however, I have also noticed first hand how many students may never reach their full potential with the site, including myself. Membean needs to be taken seriously whenever it’s being used, and it’s sad to think that thousands of students aren’t getting the full effect out of the site because of their lack of motivation and unwillingness to set time aside to practice.

I think these issues should be addressed by the teachers, and inform their student’s on the overall benefits that membean can provide, but also the impact that it can have on their grade if not taken seriousy. Some suggestions to students could be to advise them to take more frequent breaks if they feel as though they are becoming lazy in their work, and maybe also try to spend some more time on the definition slides to try and retain the information more efficiently.