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Flip Your Language Classroom the Right Way Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in For Educators

The flipped classroom model is turning the education world on its head. (See what we did there?) Essentially, students listen to traditional lectures not in class, but in videos that they watch independently. In doing so, teachers can free up class time for more interactive learning activities.  So, why wouldn’t every teacher do so?

flipped language classroom

Here’s the thing: flipping a chemistry, world history, or trigonometry classroom is vastly different from flipping a language classroom. Flipped learning is not a one-size-fits-all model—it must be tailored specifically to each subject. There is a “wrong way” to flip a language classroom, but the good news is that means there is a “right way” too, and we’ve figured it out! We’ve created and tested a flipped model specifically designed for language classrooms: Declaratively Accelerated Blended Learning (DABL).

In the new Declaratively Accelerated Blended Learning Implementation Guide, you will find how to successfully and seamlessly flip your language classroom, the benefits of doing so, and a series of sample lesson plans to help you get started. Take a look at the following excerpt that describes the methodology at the core of our DABL method:

In the flipped teaching model, students “front load” their language abilities by learning vocabulary and phrases independently before each class. Teachers can then build on what their students have already learned, practicing and applying that knowledge in class through communicative activities and task-based strategies. The result is a more rewarding classroom experience, with more time spent actively engaging with the instructor, rather than passively listening. It also allows for more individualized guidance; students that need more instruction can get it, while those that have a good handle on the material already can practice its application through group activities.

It’s important to note that this process is different from, for example, simply giving students a video of grammar rules to watch at home, then going over the concepts from that video in class. Though that’s often how the flipped classroom is applied, that approach doesn’t yield the desired results because it doesn’t give students a chance to apply the concepts after learning them (and most students won’t really internalize a grammar video outside class; it’s boring and generally can’t be tracked).

It also fails to take advantage of the different things that technology and teachers do really well. Technology excels at rapid learning exercises – a computer can present dozens of learning encounters per minute, observe and record learning outcomes, and continually adjust until the learner commits the material to memory. A teacher would be hard-pressed to efficiently replicate this fast-paced, flexible, and individualized learning experience. On the other hand, teachers are far better than software when it comes to facilitating interactive tasks such as role play or dialogues, encouraging discussions, and generally helping students apply their language knowledge in context. In an ideal DABL-based flipped language classroom, both technology and teachers get to do the things that they do best.

To continue reading, download the entire implementation guide here.

To see the DABL method in use, check out this case study about how Transparent Language Online was successfully used to implement a flipped language classroom model at St. Anne Pacelli School in Columbus, Georgia.

Want to learn more about flipping your language classroom? Our 20-year veteran language teacher explains how and why to flip in this free webinar.

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About the Author: Transparent Language

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