What are flipped lessons?
In a traditional method, the teacher talks about a topic during a lesson and assigns homework which reinforces that material. In a flipped lesson the teacher gives students materials to prepare at home with an instruction how to do it. Of course, it doesn’t concern topics which demand initial explanation. Students learn before the lesson. During the lesson the teacher discusses with students the assigned tasks that lets them put all learnt content into practice.
What kind of tasks can the teacher assign?
I usually give my students something to watch, a text to read and vocabulary to learn. During the lesson we mostly concentrate on speaking, we talk about the content they have watched or read and we put vocabulary into practical content.
Advantages of flipped lessons
1) we don’t waste time during the lesson for reading and watching
In my opinion a lesson should be used for speaking, improving pronunciation and explaining unclear aspects of grammar or vocabulary, not reading in silence.
2) students don’t speak a lot when a new topic is just being introduced during the lesson
Learners often don’t have any opinion or previous experience connected with this topic, so they keep silent. When they watch or read about it before, they know what to say.
3) human brain is able to memorize about 3-7 words per time, so students can’t learn much during the lesson
It means that on average students will remember 5 words from the lesson, which will be anyway forgotten without revising. If students have one lesson a week, they need one month to learn 20 words. If you spend 10 minutes a day learning words at home, you can learn about 50 words per week. During the lesson you will only practise them and put into practical context.
4) language learners can read or watch the material as many times as they need, in their pace
Every student has a little different level of English and perception skills. Therefore, reading or watching once may not be enough for everybody to understand. At home they can adjust material to their needs.
5) students are less stressed and have lower communication barrier when they know what to expect
Before the lesson, students get all materials which will be discussed during the lesson. If they follow the instruction of the assigned homework, they are prepared for the lesson, they don’t have to think what to say, but rather how to express what they want to say, it’s much easier at the beginning.