Flipping classrooms

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What is flip?

In the new “flipped classroom” model of instruction, students watch recorded lecture videos for homework and complete their assignments and labs before class start. Teachers spend class time mostly answering questions or working through questions about the content. The flipping movement hasn’t been around for long time, however some reports suggest it is working. A recent survey of 403,000 educators, students, and parents (conducted by Speak Up 2013 National Research Project Findings) found that 25 percent of administrators believe flipped learning has already had a “significant impact” on transforming teaching and learning in their school.

Why flip?

The flipped classroom model can transform teaching strategies if prepared well and when the appropriate technology is available. Students are able to lead the discussion, move at their own pace and take an active part in the learning process. The model facilitates better communication between teacher and student. Teachers have the time to work one-on-one with students to focus on content areas where they need the most support.

We see flipping as a potential gold mine for ESL teachers. Students can watch the video lesson more than once to make sure they understand the material, and pick up parts they may have missed during a normal classroom lecture. The method also encourages local students to participate more actively in class and stay engaged throughout class. Students can also take more responsibility for their own learning by having more opportunities to experiment with new ideas and unfamiliar concepts.

It would be interesting see how the model can work with students in ways that can make lessons that may traditionally have seemed boring (like grammar) into something more engaging. Teachers will be able to dispel the assumption that grammar is boring by reducing dependence on lecture in the classroom. A more communicative approach will increase student interest in class and transform the traditional classroom into a dynamic place. We are excited to see where the flipping model and other new technology can take ESL teaching in the future.

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