What is lesson flipping? Is it an effective technique for language learning? Thomas Healy, co-author of Smart Choice Second Edition, explains how he has used the concept of ‘flipping’ in his classroom ahead of his webinar on 17th or 19th February on the topic.
Since I started teaching over twenty years ago, there is one challenge that I continue to obsess about: I have many students, but there is only one of me. To address this reality, I’ve tried over the years to do a better job of making use of group work, collaborative learning opportunities, as well as trying to help my learners develop independent learning skills.
Dealing with the needs of individual learner’s needs, however, remains a major challenge. Recently, I’m trying to go beyond I’ll see you after class and Here’s an additional worksheet. I was intrigued when I stumbled on mathematics lectures on Youtube that were make by Sal Khan, and the concept of ‘flipping’.
Flipping is a very simple notion. Essentially, it means reversing how a teacher deals with presentation and practice in and outside of the class. In a flipped class, students experience (typically on video) the presentation of new material as homework. This, in theory, allows more time for students to practice and ask questions the next time in class. So, for example, in Sal Khan’s flipped classes, the learner would watch a presentation on how to multiply at home; they would do practice exercises in class, with the teacher present when they need help.
Fascinating, I thought, but would this work with language learners? How could I flip conversation practice, pronunciation exercises, and group work activities? Would students do the homework, or would I end up presenting the new material in class anyway?
Soon, it became apparent to me that I could not flip many elements of the class. But I could flip some. Or, at the very least, I could create a bank of resources that students could review again and again. For example, I could make videos explaining frequent errors what leaners make, which they could access independently.
When I went about this project, I was amazed at how simple the technology was. I’ve struggled with technology all my life, and still have
problems connecting a DVD player to a television. Of the many available, I’ve been using Camtasia.
Camtasia, which is available for Mac and PC, can be downloaded easily from the Internet. It is a ‘screen capture’ program that records what appears on your computer screen. In addition, you can add your voice, animated annotations, as well as subtitles.
Here is an example of how I’ve used Camtasia. Some of my students struggle with using ‘Make’ and prepositions. I made a video to review the grammar, provide examples and help students test themselves.
Step 1. I made a presentation, using PowerPoint. Actually, you can use anything, including Word.
Step 2. Then I wrote out what I wanted to say- a script.
Step 3. I played the slides on my computer, using Camtasia to record what was on the screen.
Step 4. Then, while playing back the recorded presentation, I added my voice.
Step 5. I added animated annotations and subtitles, and posted the video on Youtube.
I included a simple quiz, which students could use to test themselves.
While I don’t ‘flip’ very often in the true sense, I do like to have bank of grammar, vocabulary and reading skills videos available that students can refer to independently. I’ve never had a student who, on first exposure to a new grammar point or language skill, said, “I understand. I’ve got it! I’ll always remember it!” Currently, I’m looking through examples of student writing samples and student videos to try to identify common accuracy issues so that, in the future, in addition to saying, ‘Here’s an additional worksheet, I’ll be able to say, “Watch the video and try the quiz.” And if they still don’t get it, I’ll see them after class.
Want to find out more about lesson flipping? Take part in Thomas Healy’s live webinar on 17th or 19th February. Thomas will discuss models of lesson flipping and provide a technical demonstration of how to implement this technique. Register today!