Time to read: 5 minutes
Updated January 2022
You want to learn a language and you have spent hours and hours in classes but never seem to get any further along…You ask yourself why and wonder whether it is just you.
Can you recall hours in classes eyes glazed over, half listening to your teacher as they lectured? Or even concentrating hard finally understanding the topic of the lesson, and then it’s time to go home, perhaps do homework… but then when do you practice what you have learned?
How many times have you heard people say, I understand the theory but when I need to use it, I don’t remember it. We all know that practice makes perfect, but if classroom time is spent learning the information, when do you get to practice it?
Traditional learning has primarily revolved around a teacher-centred classroom, where the focus is on giving out and explaining information, assigning work, and leaving it to the students to master the material. Though effective for some; this often doesn’t work for many who find themselves forced as observers rather than participants in their own learning.
It’s time for learning to be student-centred and allow YOU to take control of your learning and using your time in the best way possible and giving you the opportunity to be responsible for your own success. We need to turn learning upside down. The flipped-classroom approach does just that. But what exactly is a flipped-class and is it just a new craze?
The flipped classroom centres on the student and allowing them to acquire facts and information before the class time, and then use the class time to question, explore and practice what they have learned with the support and guidance from their teacher.
Don’t be misled this is not a new idea. In higher education students have always been encouraged and required to research information and bring it to their tutorials where it would be discussed and explored and put into context under the guidance of their professor. Even Aristotle used this method with his students. But in every day learning this was difficult to put into practice, simply because of the time and resources needed for all students to be able to access the material.
Technology has allowed a new learning model to emerge for everyone who has access to the internet that moves away from a teacher-centred space, and onto a more collaborative, student-centred learning environment, by way of a flipped classroom.
In this way students can access the relevant information at home, at work, on the train, in fact anywhere they can find an internet connection and time. The student decides on how much or little time they need to understand the information and even start to practice the basics through tests and quizzes.
In a flipped classroom, it is possible for students to have increased input and control over their own learning. By providing short lectures at home, students are given the freedom to learn at their own pace and understand the material. Students can watch the lectures as many times as they need, write down questions they may have, and later discuss them with their teachers in class.
With endless information available at their fingertips teachers are no longer the only source of knowledge for students. So then why do you even need a teacher? Teachers aren't obsolete, in fact, they are more important than ever.
A flipped classroom is more demanding than the traditional one. Teachers need to identify the individual learning needs of students, making sure they use the class time engaged IN the learning process. And this can be harder than the traditional teaching model.
A teacher makes sure that the students are guided to the right (and best) information they need, to view at home prior to the next class. This allows class time to be devoted to expanding on and mastering the material.
When students come prepared to class, there's little to no need for teachers to address content-related questions. Instead, they can support students in better understanding the concepts through practical application and plenty of practice.
The flipped classroom inspires teachers to offer a versatile and engaging way to share learning content while putting more control into students' hands regarding their own learning processes.
In a flipped classroom, students can have more time to get on with their lives, whether that means more free time, or more academic practice, instead of sitting in a classroom covering material they don’t get the opportunity to practice – and enable class attendance to concentrate on becoming proficient and perfect!
Image credit: University of Texas