Traditionally language learning has taken place in two-hour face-to-face sessions in small groups with a tutor. Although possible to recreate this at a distance through online platforms such as Teams, it quickly became apparent that other delivery formats would be more suited to teaching at a distance. For this reason, a flipped classroom approach was adopted to the teaching of languages. Students now spend 75% of their time assimilating the language structures and content knowledge they need to participate in a 30-minute communicative activity. For example, advanced students were asked to watch the trailer of a French film and then predict what the outcome of the film would be. They then watched the premiere of the film online and in the 30-minute session they discussed their opinions of what they had watched. Students are supported by tutors in the flipped period whereas communication sessions are peer-led with a designated student also acting as rapporteur to record the process. Here tutors will monitor performance.
Student feedback suggests that distance learning has accelerated the rate at which students can learn a foreign language. This may be attributable to the amount of active input students give during the session giving them more chance to speak. There is also an argument that student confidence has been increased by the scaffolded preparation given before the session.
A minority of students felt that the 30-minute communication session was a little short. Some tutors missed the classroom atmosphere which enabled them to gauge group reaction and so adapt the pace/content of lesson accordingly.
Screenshot of some of the language courses that are using a flipped classroom approach
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