Flipped learning in English language classes – What is the best use of your face-to-face time in class?

#ELTchat is a group of ELT professionals discussing topics of interest every Wednesday at 12pm or 9pm on rotation. Every Saturday, one of the moderators puts up a blog post on the #ELTchat Blog asking teachers who follow #ELTchat to propose some topics for the next charts. #ELTchat followers can go to that post and suggest topics in the comments under the blog post. On Sunday evening, the moderators review the topics and create an online poll. #ELTchat followers are then invited to vote on the topics until Wednesday morning (eltchat.org)

This week’s topic, proposed by Sara Tilleman (@Saraginot), was “Flipped learning in English language classes – What is the best use of your face-to-face time in class?” The topic was not new to #ELTchat followers, therefore, Marisa Constantinides (@Marisa_C) had provided a link to the previous ELTchat’s summary, so as to turn this into a follow-up discussion. (The photo below has been taken from the Eltchat blog)


From the very start of the discussion, participants – both the advocates and the ones in doubt – focused on defining the “Flipped Classroom.”

Flipping or Homework?

There was much discussion in relation to the difference between these two concepts. Some of the participants perceived the terms as having similar meanings while others identified a slight difference:

The issue was brought up by @adi_rajan who asked, “Does flipping refer to watching recorded videos at home or does it also include exercises (then how is it different to homework)?” The answer to this question could be summarized in the following tweets:

-Homework=recycling but flipping=new input (@HanaTicha)

-Homework reviews learning. Flip looks forward (@Philip_Saxon)

However, there were still people who, like @Shaunwilden “[didn’t] like the idea of homework=review.” The one thing that most participants seemed to agree on, though, was that in flipped learning, students are asked to work at home and do tasks that would prepare them for next lesson.

What do students do at home?

This was an issue with which the participants were preoccupied during the entire chat. Ideas varied and some people shared their experiences with flipping:

Examples included: Have students watch videos in advance (@Philip_Saxon), familiarize them with the materials to be taught in class (@HanaTicha), have them prepare a topic that they will teach in next lesson (@Marisa_C), ask them to research topics and post own videos with commentary as a preparation for discussion (@Philip_Saxon), ask them to work on a particular grammatical phenomenon and let them come up with language rules that derive from examples found by them (@angelos_bollas), have them listen to a long talk, such as a TEDtalk or a lecture (@Marisa_C), provide them with opportunities to explore input on a given topic in a multisensory way (@StudyBundles), or have them use online tools such as Google Docs and do some collaborative writing work (@Marisa_C). These were some of the examples which provided food for the answer(s) to the next question:

So, what do we do in classroom?

Having discussed possible options for what students could be assigned to do at home, the discussion’s focus was shifted to how classroom time could be of better use. The majority of us agreed that the face-to-face time could be used for activating input received or generated at home (@Marisa_C), to clarify/correct and practice (@janoreso, @Shaunwilden, @EdLaur), to develop speaking fluency skills (@Philip_Saxon, @rapple18, @01LPearson), to have students edit each other’s writing (@Marisa_C), or even to focus on error correction (@janoreso, @01LPearson)

Prons vs. Cons

To many participants, flipping suggested more preparation time for the teacher (@janoreso, @HanaTicha). Others thought that it suggests less preparation for the teachers but more for the learners (@angelos_bollas, @rapple18). It was also suggested that flipping might work better with approaches like CLIL or ESP classes where learners share interests (@Philip_Saxon, @angelos_bollas). It was commonly accepted, though, that flipping is motivating students to explore language beyond classroom conventions (@HanaTicha, @StudyBundles) and speed up classroom time (@Philip_Saxon). It was also suggested that more published material and empirical studies on the subject should soon become available (@Philip_Saxon).

3 thoughts on “Flipped learning in English language classes – What is the best use of your face-to-face time in class?

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