For almost a decade as a teacher, Shweta always taught face-to-face. However, by March 2020, not only did the way her lesson delivery change,but so did her teaching ideology. Shweta had always believed that learning could not truly be complete without face-to-face classroom interactions between learners and their teacher. This interaction assured learners that their teacher was available for support and encouragement. She says, ‘I had to, however, abandon this idea to ensure learning continued online during the pandemic due to lockdowns.’
Instead of seeing this as an obstacle, Shweta seized the opportunity to learn more about an approach she had only dabbled in thus far. Flipped learning, according to this definition by Flipped Learning Network, is a ‘pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.’
Shweta’s learners, girls aged 9 to 10 years with an elementary English level, had devices, access to the internet and were excited about this new approach. Shweta noticed, ‘This could have been because the assigned readings and tasks were no longer viewed as “homework” but as part of the whole online learning experience.’
For instance, learners watched a video and responded to questions about it in an online forum. This was followed by a teacher-led discussion in an online lesson. This ensured that learners had engaged with the content, were able to share their own perspectives and understanding and Shweta could then build and extend this learning. It also enabled class time to be used more effectively with, for example, error correction and practising grammatical structures. The language produced by the learners was used as the basis for classroom content.
Similarly, learners became more confident, having prepared and practised before the class through a task. The higher-order thinking skills of evaluation and analysis could be further developed in the online class. In breakout rooms, learners could reflect on and peer-review the tasks. Shweta remembers one of her young learners saying, ‘When you let us talk in breakout rooms, it feels like we’re in a classroom, and that’s such fun!’
Encouraged by her initial success, Shweta started to upskill herself. For instance, she followed some experts in the flipped learning approach on social media. She learnt that flipped learning-enabledincreased individualised support time to learners and improved peer interactions creating a collaborative learning environment. This was evidenced in her own experience where her learners were now doing more active work, such as think-pair-share activities, where they had to respond to questions during class time which were based on a task done before the class. For example, if there was a long text, she divided it into sections and assigned each section to a group of learners. This ensured that learners had to complete their task in order for the entire group to complete the lesson. Shweta found it extremely useful to regularly check in with her learners on how they were finding the flipped learning approach. For instance, some learners didn’t complete a task because they found the task difficult. This led Shweta to set up a buddy system for peer support. In this way, Shweta continuously modified her approach by asking learners for their ideas and found a remarkable improvement in engagement.
Flipped learning is not just for children. Shweta used it in the British Council teacher development Raman Kant Munjal Foundation Project where questions related to the topics of upcoming training were first posted in social media groups. This enabled the participants to think about the topic and come prepared to the training thus making the environment truly collaborative and bringing together the participants’ experiences.
Her advice to teachers interested in implementing the strategy in their online classrooms is, ‘Familiarise yourself with the technology, train your learners on the use and process of flipped learning and select and create tasks that work for you and your learners!’
- For getting started with flipped classrooms and to understand when and how you can use it, listen to this podcast Welcome to the Flipped Classroom. The Flipping Basics!
- To know more about flipped classroom and get answers to some commonly asked questions, watch this Facebook Live session on Flipped classroom where two practising teachers discuss the approach and answer some questions.
- To access a range of resources related to flipped classrooms, use this community resource website from the Flipped Learning Network
- Read about integrating the flipped classroom and cooperative learning approaches in this blog Empower students with flipped, cooperative learning | TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC
- To know more about how game-based learning helps teachers and learners prepare for more productive and effective lessons, read this blog from Paul Rogers How to flip the classroom using game-based learning