Flipped Learning and Homework Preparation in Foreign Language Classrooms

I have struggled to get my head around flipping the classroom in my subject. I am a foreign language teacher. If students access new language through reading and writing first rather than through listening and speaking first, they develop the most dreadful accents ever, in fact, communication is hindered! When the classroom is flipped, students usually read and research or do introductory exercises in advance of a lesson. This is difficult in a foreign language class.

So why not use sound files or video? Good idea, but so time consuming and time is the most precious commodity when teaching. There is simply not enough of it. As more administrative tasks and accountabilities are piled on, what suffers first is lesson preparation.

However, if a language teacher were able to create sound and video resources for a flipped lesson every now and again, over a period of years, s/he would build up a bank of useful reusable resources.

Flipped learning in language classes could be another pedagogical tool in an already overflowing toolbox.

Another thought – has anyone ever done any serious research on just how many students in a flipped classroom scenario actually do the homework preparation? I don’t know about primary school, but in secondary schools, students manage all their internal assessment workload by picking and choosing what they will do and when they will do it. A teacher can’t rely on homework as part of the learning programme.  I reckon the hit rate for homework is about one third of students and there is simply not enough time for follow through.  You have to pick your battles.  If one third of students don’t do their homework preparation, then there is a lot of mopping up after the fact that a flipping teacher would need to do. Kind of defeats the purpose.

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