The flipped classroom – what’s it all about and how can you flip yours?


Back in 2011, Joanna posted a beautiful infographic about the flipped classroom. In short, the flipped classroom converts the traditional student-based learning method – watching, reading and listening to a lecture delivered by the teacher – into homework that they do at home, or even on the move, by watching a pre-recorded lecture on video. Class time can then be dedicated to more in-depth and useful learning time, such as reinforcement, checking with the teacher about individual misunderstandings and delving deeper into a certain topics. Classes are divided into multiple smaller groups to promote discussion, debate and further learning.

So why should you flip your classroom? Firstly, it will allow you to give your students a more personalised learning experience. Especially in languages, mixed ability classes are common, and by flipping the classroom you can really focus on students who have struggled to understand the video lecture while allowing other students to further explore the subject at their own level.

Secondly, flipping your classroom prevents both you and your students from getting bored. Rather than spending 30 minutes delivering an explanatory lecture or presentation a few times to different classes, you can record it once and re-distribute it as and when needed. Your students can then watch it on the bus on the way home, noting down any questions for the next class where you can spend time focused on more interesting ways of treating the subject. It’s not that giving and watching instructional lectures is boring or unnecessary; rather it’s taking the focus off this style of teaching so that teachers become more than information-deliverers and students become more than information-receivers.

You can read the full Flipped Class Manifesto here, and below is a fantastic video showing the Flipped Science Classroom in action, which may give you some inspiration for flipping yours!

So how can you make the most of flipping your English language classroom in particular? Ted-Ed has some fascinating video tutorials on a whole range of subjects, perfect for the higher-level CLIL classroom and advanced ESP students.  Ted-Ed have grasped the importance of flipping and have created a ‘Flip this lesson’ button, available to all subscribers, so now you can take a Ted-Ed lesson, flip it to edit and annotate it with your own notes and instructions, then share it with your students. You could annotate these in all manner of ways, from asking students to come to the lesson with a vocabulary list or an understanding of key terms used in the lesson – the choice is yours!

MEC also provides some ready-built ‘lectures’ that you could use to flip your classroom quickly and easily. Use the Grammar Reference Database videos and animations as the instructional lectures that your students watch at home, then in class you can put these grammar points into practice, dividing students into groups and setting them any number of tasks based on that grammar point. This would work with any level or age of class.

Have you flipped your classroom yet? Have you noticed any changes? Or do you want to keep your classroom well and truly un-flipped? Let us know in the comments below!






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