This buzz term has gained traction over recent years and with good reason. Rather than explain flipped learning again, see this infochart.
Language learning lends itself to being flipped quite well as students could complete the passive learning of the language structure before the active use and production of it. How easy is that?
One observation that I have made, as well as others, is that the premise of flipped learning fails if the learner does not complete the work outside the class. Whether it is used as pre-learning or a post review, language acquisition is promoted the more times learners are exposed to the language.
I have decided to selectively flip only certain lessons of language learning in my class as I believe in utilizing a variety of pedagogy to suit the learners, their needs and the goals of the lessons. However, students in my foundations ESL class in a Middle Eastern university have largely failed to complete the passive part of the flipped learning more often than not. I recently spoke informally with my students and noted some reflections on the teaching and learning that happens in my classes.
To generalize, students lack motivation to complete all tasks at home. There are of course students who see value to this and understand the rationale of why I set some passive work outside of class and more active work in class. Some don’t have the internet so most of these lack the drive to complete the work using campus wifi before or after class. Some lack motivation to work hard on activities with no direct relation to their grade. There’s always one or two of these students in the class and this means rigid assessments that haven’t caught up to our changing classrooms are hindering progress. There’s a number of students who just don’t like learning English and the passive, individual learning, whether it be a video, audio recording, or a reading all with basic ‘getting started’ information and questions, just isn’t interesting to them. Perhaps the last two are push backs from students and John Sowash acknowledges this.
Whilst I believe that intrinsic motivation is the key for successful independent learning, I am taking the steps to provide more extrinsic motivation to perhaps get the ball rolling. I have noted a few times that the carrot dangling in front of students does produce some short-term motivation.
Online merit lists and weekly report cards are two options I will employ soon to publically highlight good standards of attitude, motivation and behavior. Badges are one upcoming trend with a number of educators and Educational websites are slowly seeing this and incorporating badges into their design. Additionally I will also review the passive learning input I choose to use and see if I can add to it. Adding emphasis, highlights, extra inset video, supplementary materials, editing resources for only crucial information etc… may all be effective in capturing student interest. I am also thinking of more individual consultations to provide positive praise and constructive feedback (probably face-to-face, the shock!). Of course I reason with students as to why we are doing the work in the way we are doing it but it is difficult to assess understanding among non-native speakers as feedback for everything.