Applying the FLIP

SCAD Language Studio ? Professor Christina Cavage, Human Resources headshot, Fall 2013 ? Photography by Stephanie Krell, courtesy of SCADChristina M. Cavage

Blended learning, the Flipped classroom, Extended learning . . . all terms that are being used today. However, the big question remains—are commercial materials readily available that allow us to move toward FLIPping and extending learning opportunities for our students without creating more work for teachers? Absolutely! This month I would like to focus on just that—how MyEnglishLabs, particularly Next Generation Grammar, have been designed with blending or flipping in mind.

The four pillars of the FLIP include: Flexiblity, Learning culture, Intentional content, and Professional educators. Over the next two newsletters, I will walk you through examples on how Next Generation Grammar meets each of the pillars.

First, flexibility. Next Generation Grammar gives a teacher great flexibility in what can be done in the classroom and what can be done outside of the classroom. Take a look at the Grammar Coach:
Grammar Coach

Students can access the Grammar Coach outside of class as often as they like. The Grammar Coach serves as an instructor. Students can view again and again. Thus, learning happens outside of class. What learning should be moved outside of class? The answer is quite simple: learning about those structures that require less cognitive load on the students’ part; those structures that involve only the lower levels on Bloom’s taxonomy—remembering and understanding. This gives educators a lot of flexibility in the classroom, where we can work on developing the higher levels of skills—applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. We can do this through the large number of engaging and interactive activities within the text. Take a look at the exercise below, taken from the text. This exercise requires students to apply new structures, evaluate, and create. Isn’t that what we want our students doing in the classroom?

Next, learning culture. Learning culture involves making a shift in how we think about instruction. It requires us to move away from “teaching” to “facilitating.” It also requires us to move away from the traditional grammar teaching many of us grew up on and have mastered as educators. This teaching and learning paradigm shift recognizes that instruction can and should be delivered outside of the classroom. That doesn’t mean instruction doesn’t take place in the classroom; it just moves some instruction out of the classroom. How many times have we played an audio or read a reading and seen the looks on our students faces? We knew full well a good number just didn’t get it; they needed to work with it again. That’s what Next Generation Grammar was built on. It takes some students a lot of repetition to get it. Imagine reading the exercise below one time in class. Imagine the questions about vocabulary and reading comprehension that might arise.

ReadingChart vocab

By moving this kind of exercise into the lab, students can work through the vocabulary and comprehension at their own pace through engaging and interactive activities. That is the learning culture shift. Overall, it allows our classrooms to go back to collaborative, communicative, engaging environments. And isn’t that our real goal?

In the next newsletter, I will discuss the other two pillars of the Flipped classroom: intentional content and professional educators.