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"Flipping the Classroom" for Language Learners

As technology entered public schools more and more, the Flipped Classroom Model has been growing in popularity amongst educational pioneers. Technology and task-based learning are key components of the flipped classroom model. Here’s a cool and useful infographic about flipping.

In this learning environment, the traditional format of lectures in the class and homework after school is switched or “flipped” around. Instead, the student watches an instructional and lecture video at home and then works on associated tasks or activities in the classroom. The theory is that teachers can better identify each student’s needs during in-class tasks and give individualized instruction. By coming to class prepared to ask questions and solve problems with their peers after viewing the subject matter on their own, the students feel empowered to direct their own learning.

The theoretical framework of the flipped model seems to be especially ideal for language learners. The reasons are many, including:

1. While watching a video at home, the students can work at their own pace and repeat video as many times as necessary for them to take detailed notes or to go back to anything they may have missed. This process naturally and efficiently facilitates differentiated instruction that would usually take more time for the teachers to do in the classroom.

2. The visual content capabilities of a video enhances language learning better than static textbooks.

3. When language learners are given more opportunities to interact with their peers in class, the learners will have authentic language experiences that will improve their proficiency dramatically.

The strongest criticism of this model is the unequal accessibility of technology for learners. However, the idea of previewing lesson material prior to class and actual face-to-face class time being used to practice what they learned is the key idea behind flipping, not necessarily the tools in which this is done. Although technology is an important component of the flipped model, it is by no means absolutely indispensable.