I teach at a technical school in Verona, Italy. Last year I started converting my ESL/ESP
classes to "flipped" courses, as I have found that this new methodology allows teachers
to use their time and resources in the best possible way. The flipped approach has changed
the way teaching and learning occur in my classes. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of
this teaching technique is that it allows students to review lessons anytime, anywhere on
their digital devices. They can watch educational videos at home, reserving class time for
in-depth discussions or class projects.
Flipped learning is more about "how" students learn, as opposed to "when" they learn. Using
Google Drive or Dropbox, Facebook and Vimeo, they can collaborate and stay connected with me.
What they used to do in the classroom (listening to me explain a concept) is done instead
in a video format that the students watch at home for homework. Similarly, what used to be
done at home (namely studying) is done in the classroom, where students can talk to me and
learn with each other in collaborative activities.
One of the biggest changes that has resulted from the flip teaching method I adopted is that
now my teaching style is more dynamic and motivational than traditional teaching. Last year I
asked myself: " What's the best use of my face-to-face time with my students?" Flipped learning
means lower level thinking skills, such as lectures, are relegated to outside the classroom, while
the higher order skills of applying, evaluating and creating are done during class with the me. I
usually begin by introducing an idea; then after a brainstorming session, I explain the concept and
let the students research further on their computers. Students work in small groups and help each
other, coaching those that are slower to catch on. Together they create multimedia lessons that
they present to the class and then publish in a digital portfolio.
Another change I have noted is that these days when I walk around the classroom, I see my
students fully engaged on a regular basis - much more so more than would otherwise be the
case using traditional teaching. The manner in which my students are interacting with each other
and with me is quite remarkable, ie. they feel that they are in control of their learning in a
student-centered classroom. Using the available technology to maximize class time for discussion
and other social aspects of teaching has given me more time to connect with individuals in the class.