Flipped classroom: episode 1

So last week I wrote about the idea of the flipped classroom, and I mentioned that I was going to try out the approach with my classes in the following weeks. Today was my first attempt at a flipped classroom-style task, so I wanted to record what happened and my thoughts for taking things forward.

I have two B2 General English classes, with students who are generally academically-minded and keen to progress through the levels. I decided to start off with a text and a task that I have done before, so that things would be relatively safe and I’d know where to go if things went horribly wrong.

As it happened, the coursebook unit is focussed on the future this week, so I went with the Microsoft Future Vision 2020 video that I posted a while back.

Students were asked to watch the video at home and were given the following task:

1. Write 5 sentences about how interaction with technology will change in the future according to the video.

2. Which was your favourite technological innovation featured in the video?

3. How close do you think this “future vision” is to becoming reality? Is anything not likely to happen?

4. Suggest other ways that technological interaction may change in the future.

I entered the class with trepidation as to whether any of them had actually bothered to watch the video. To my surprise, all of them had, and were excited to discuss their experience. They had even texted two students who were absent the previous day to let them know to watch the video ahead of class!

So, worst fears allayed, we got straight to the task. The aim of the five sentences was to get them to use the future, and particularly the future passive. I asked students to work in groups of five to six, and they compared and peer corrected their sentences. This led to quite heated discussion about the future passive and revealed that they are quite unsure about using the passive with modal verbs, which we then went over as a class.

The answers to the othe questions generated a pretty engaging discussion, and allowed the exploitation of emergent language such as expressions like “be likely to” and “be bound to”.

As a wrap up, I asked the students how they felt the lesson had gone and whether they felt that the approach had been worthwhile. It was universally positive, and they asked for it to continue.

So all in all, I’m feeling pretty good after this task. What I want to explore in the future are different kinds of task. I’d quite like to try a Guided Discovery style task, which we can then build on in class.

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