Flipped Classroom and Language Learning

September 16, 2013

If you have anything to do with the Education Field, you’ve probably already been exposed to one of the latest and hottest topics in education - a “flipped classroom.” If you are unfamiliar with the concept, it basically works like this:

 Flipped classroom table
 Flipped classroom

It’s not really hard to see the advantages here. Students can watch the pre-recorded lesson as many times as they need to grasp the concepts. Then, when they really need help – while working on practice problems or a project, the teacher is right there to support them with their expert knowledge.

When I first read about flipped classrooms, I immediately visualized how well this would work with a math class. But as I pondered it more, I realized how effective a flipped classroom could be in language learning. 

Consider this narrative. Kelsey is teaching 5th graders in Japan about the English Language Past Tense. So she pre-records her lecture, including examples writing on the board, and a lot of verbal examples. The students download her lecture from their school website and watch it at home. The kids who feel pretty confident using the past tense watch it once. The ones who need a bit more practice watch it a few times, going back, repeating pronunciation in the privacy of their bedroom, free from the intimidating eyes of others, which may have hindered their classroom participation in a traditional lecture setting.

The next day Kelsey has the students working in small groups on preparing a mock news broadcast which includes yesterday’s top stories. Kelsey is there to answer any questions, check over the scripts the students are writing, lend some insight and ideas, and monitor pronunciation as the students practice.

None of the students feel lost or behind. Kelsey won’t be surprised at the end product when the students present their “broadcast.” And most importantly, the student learning was maximized.  

Until next time!