Recently, I have been reading a lot into the so called ´Flipped Classrom Approach´and I have been taken aback a little. This methodology basically consists of giving the course material at home and using class time to primarily experiment with practicing the subject. The course material can be delivered through online tutorials or even in a written format with something like a blog. What most confuses me is, in the teaching of English as a Second language, isn´t this the norm? This is what I have spent most of my teaching life doing here in Spain. We have difficult time constraints here. Many of my classes only have 2 to 3 hours contact time per week and there is only so much that we can cover in a class. I set up this blog in fact to help with this, to show students where to find information and resources. Also I have assigned a work email address to all of our teaching staff in the Faculty to help support our students. But I think this is the only real way forward in this field of education. We should spend class time using language and putting the theory into practice. I am always looking to help with problems of understanding certain concepts (usually grammatically based) in class. However the main point of a class should be to use language. That is what the time is for! That is why everyone wants a native teacher!
So my theory is that this so called FLIPPED CLASSROOM APPROACH should actually be the norm in ESL. This is because it is more streamlined, it gives us more opportunity to consolidate learning and theory and in my point of view, it is more interesting for both the teacher and the student. If not we will waste a lot of our contact house explaining theory that could be researched at home. We just need to make sure that the students are clear about what they should be doing at home and how they should best take advantage of the resources that you provide them with. I have mentioned in a previous post, the importance of explaining about study skills (HERE). But a teacher should provide the means for students to continue their learning outside the classroom as we all know that 2 hours a week in nowhere near enough to be able to learn a language effectively.