Flipped Classes

June 16, 2016

Pupils from 5th grade of the Visual Arts Department, Liceo Artistico ‘O.Licini’ Ascoli Piceno.

Being a first attempt, I selected only four pairs of pupils as tutors with the rest of the classmates.

 Experimenting a flipped classroom approach in learning literary English

Each pair had to widen knowledge of a specific literary period, the Victorian Age, already introduced by the teacher through videos from the Web.

Preparation Activities
First of all, they have watched new videos about the chosen topic, written subtitles and summarized them in order to write a new text to deliver to the class, along with different types of exercises structured on it. The teacher has suggested some sites to choose material from and some others to get an idea on the exercises to be worked out for their materials.

Classroom Activities
Each pair has run a 60-minute class teaching the rest of the pupils their newly-structured materials. They have realized structured pre-listening, while-listening and post-listening activities, vocabulary and grammar exercises, crosswords, each of them focusing on different aspects of the Victorian Age.

Feedback from the Protagonists
It was hard work, especially writing the video scripts from the web sites, highlighting the key-concepts and re-writing the new text to be used with their classmates. Creating the exercises was easier thanks to the samples they found in the reference materials. The hardest task was managing free discussion on the introduced themes. All in all, they liked this approach as they learnt by doing and found it more motivating than traditional study methods.

Feedback from the Classmates
At the beginning, they were curious about their ‘unusual teachers’ and paid great attention to their instructions. They collaborated and felt engaged in the proposed activities so as to do the exercises as fast as possible. The class atmosphere was relaxed and the pupils interacted in English in a very spontaneous way. They appreciated their classmates’ efforts.

Feedback from the Teacher
The preparatory steps were really time consuming. I had to have a look at different web sites to find the right ones in terms of content reliability and language feasibility. I had to plan each step so as to give the involved pupils clear instructions and a definite time schedule. I had to revise their new materials and plan their lessons in a way to fit in our standard curriculum. I gave them two-months time to prepare for their activities and devoted four classes to their teaching sessions. However, all this effort was well rewarded by the pupils’ increased motivation and interest in what they were doing. It was really worthwhile.

This video shows different moments during lessons taught by pairs of pupils to the rest of the class:

Author: Enrica Carassai

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