Membean is an ineffectual learning platform that should not be utilized in classrooms


@funny_membean on Instagram

Screen Shot of Membean’s “learning” pages

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Grandiose, enthrall, treatise, pare. A plethora of unmemorable words scramble my page, and I question why I’m being tortured with the remembrance of these irrelevant and excessively large words generated by Membean. 

Membean is an online site used to practice and widen the vocabulary of students through memorization and repetition. Throughout the course of the week, students are required to attend three fifteen-minute training sessions, and at the end of the week, the words they attempted to retain are compiled into a random quiz they are mandated to take.

Since freshman year, Membean has lurked in the shadows of my life. A website that supposedly challenges and enhances vocabulary is nothing short of busy work and a waste of every student’s time. I loathe logging on three days out of the week only to scroll through TikTok and Instagram while pretending to avert my attention to the futile words apparent on my screen. 

An extended vocabulary is something that is necessary throughout your life; whether it’s for job applications or intense essays, sounding intellectual is an immense asset. But how exactly does Membean help with that? 

The website itself states that Membean  “is a vocabulary program that builds word consciousness. Personalized, differentiated instruction—automatically tailored to your skill level—helps you achieve lasting outcomes by prioritizing higher order thinking over memorization.” Yet every week, I force myself to participate in this repetitive cycle of pretending to maintain interest in the monotonous rhythm of vocabulary that is in no way specific to how I learn or memorize words. 

I loathe logging on three days out of the week only to scroll through TikTok and Instagram while pretending to avert my attention to the futile words apparent on my screen. ”

Membean generates an insufficient number of sentences for each individual word. So when it’s time to take my weekly test and the sentence generated is in no way similar to the one I have been “studying” for the past week, fear flashes through my mind. Guessing is the only way to go about this problem, which for me, generally works, but others aren’t so successful. 

Personally, I have never attained below an 80% on a Membean quiz, which is ironic because I fabricate my “study time,” not paying attention and clicking random buttons to try and fulfill the fifteen-minute qualification. This simply just proves how idiotic this online platform—that English teachers worship—really is. 

Requirements of three days of “training” and a total of 45 minutes per week is flat out foolish. I can recall numerous times when I’ve been extremely busy with school, work, and just all together stressed, causing Membean training to simply slip my mind. In turn, this requires me to stay up until 12:30 p.m. on Thursday night to attain all of my training requirements in order to prevent my grade from dropping. Not to mention, this online site costs between six and twenty dollars per student to have access to Membean per year, which is immensely outrageous. 

This isn’t how school should work. Staying up until the depths of the night for a silly game of memory shouldn’t be acceptable or glamorized in learning environments, nor should paying an excessive amount of money for a program students half-heartedly participate in and dread logging into.

Membean is in all reality busy work that teachers can throw onto their students and practically hold as a punishment. Technology such as this can definitely be useful, but the hatred and angst it causes amongst students and constant repetition that fails to educate should not be utilized in a high school or middle school setting.