Use Valuable Class Time to Engage in Conversation in Foreign Language Classes
I vividly recall sitting in my son’s Spanish classroom during an Open House back in 2011, listening to the teacher explain how they reviewed vocabulary and grammar during class. She reminded us of the importance of finding opportunities for students to listen to, and even better, speak the language outside of class.
Earlier that year I had learned about the flipped classroom. As I sat listening to the instructional process being used in this language learning classroom, I had two key realizations. First, this is the process that is used in many such classrooms, and had been for decades (maybe even centuries). Secondly, I couldn’t help but realize that flipped teaching and learning is a perfect match teaching languages!
Many experienced ‘flippers’ know that a key benefit of the technique is changing how you use that valuable face-to-face class time. In fact, this is in many ways the point of flipped pioneers Bergmann and Sams’ second book, Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement.
It doesn’t take a huge leap to connect the dots and realize that the flipped classroom provides the opportunity to resolve the biggest challenge with teaching languages – providing the opportunity to spend more time speaking the language!
It doesn’t surprise me that many other educators have reached the same conclusion. Here is a small selection of publications and videos focused on the flipped foreign language classroom:
- A New Approach to Language Instruction—Flipping the Classroom from the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages
- This PDF published on ResearchGate.net, FLIPPING IT Reversed Instruction in the Foreign language classroom.
- Here’s a whole blog site devoted to flipping Spanish instruction … Flipping my Spanish Classroom
- Flipping your EFL Classroom? Go ahead!
- The Flipped Classroom on FLTMAG.com
- My Spanish Flipped Classroom, video by teacher Ginger Baker-Sanhueza
Not surprisingly, a handful of teachers in this summer’s 4 Week Online Flipped Classroom Workshop are teaching foreign languages. They are really enjoying the workshop and preparing to use these techniques to free up class time for active learning and using the foreign tongue they are studying.
So, if you’re teaching a foreign language and NOT using flipped techniques yet … what are you waiting for?! Join the flipped classroom grass roots revolution and help your students get the practice they need actually speaking the language!