Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Flipping the MFL classroom

As a member of our school's New Technologies School Improvement Group, I have been thinking recently about what the next step would be. We have looked at a different project each year for the past 3 and I can say that due to the action research projects we undertake as part of membership of the SIG groups I am now confident in using Twitter, blogging and QR codes in my teaching. After talking to colleagues (both in the flesh and on Twitter - follow the hashtag #mfltwitterati if you don't already), it seems Flipped classroom needs to be brought to MFL!

If you are not familiar with the concept, it's basic principle is that the learning happens outside of the classroom - freeing up class time for discussion and enabling the teacher to become the facilitator as opposed to the fountain of all knowledge. See infographic here.

There are lots of people experimenting with this at the moment and some very helpful twitterers have pointed me in the direction of some great blogs on the topic - but I thought I would trial the concept with a class from September next year. This coincides perfectly with the launch of our new VLE platform for pupils, something as staff we have been working to populate over the past few months. The new VLE has a gret number of functions which will support the Flipped classroom demands, including posting videos and enabling students to 'drop' their homework on to the Assignments page in order to hand it in.

The plan:

Class: Year 7 Spanish or German, depending in timetable

Why: Train them up early! I won't be using an accelerated set as I want to measure the results in comparison to another class. I also don't want to risk losing valuable lesson time with the dual linguists if the activity doesn't work out and I need to revisit something (timetables at Wildern mean that languages classes have 5 lessons per fortnight - if the class is accelerated, they are therefore dual linguists, meaning they have 3 lessons of their first language and 2 of their second across the fortnight).

How: A series of tutorial videos concentrating on key skills - pupils will watch these for their homework task and then complete an activity based on what they have learned in the classroom. We could then make the most of AFL opportunities and complete some peer and self assessment. 

Why this way? I'm of the opinion that this style of learning lends itself well to skills rather than vocabulary retention as I feel it is too demanding to expect pupils to learn a number of words and then reproduce them in the classroom. With grammar, we can practise and hopefully iron out any misconceptions as a class - enabling me as the teacher to become a facilitator to their learning and pick up on their train of thought once they have had time to digest the information, rather than expecting them to remember what I may have just presented to them 5 minutes before. I'm open to trying presenting vocabulary and more content to Key Stage 4, but would like to experiment with KS3 first and reflect on the progress there. 

I'm interested to hear anyone else's experience with flipped classroom particularly any top tips. Either way, watch this space come September for some reflections along the way.

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