The flipped classroom model is not a new concept for most ESL teachers. We’ve been flipping classes long before it became the latest trend in education, long before we even knew what to call it, understanding intuitively that students will not acquire a language by passively listening to an instructor’s lecture. Flipping the classroom happens naturally in conversation and reading classes, which lend themselves to class discussions or role-playing activities, or in writing classes, where students can spend valuable class time writing and peer editing. But what about grammar classes? This seems to be where many teachers get trapped in the common pitfalls of providing lengthy explanations and reading through a list of rules, followed by reciting answers to fill-in-the-blank activities. How can grammar teachers apply the flipped model to create engaging, dynamic lessons? Continue reading
In few professions do you get start over every year, every semester, or quarter. It’s a wonderful thing, and one of the best parts about teaching. As we begin anew, it gives us an opportunity to try new techniques, materials, employ those innovative strategies on a fresh group of learners. It was a few years back that I decided to try something new—blended learning. Extending my students’ learning experiences has not only proved valuable to their learning, but has allowed me to become the kind of classroom teaching I have always wanted to be.
Some of you may have been following my articles on blended learning and flipping your ESL classroom, some of you may have been decided to make that leap. For those still on the fence, or wanting to know more, I thought I would review some of the finer points I covered in the last few newsletters. Continue reading
If you are like me, you are probably willing to try anything to engage your students and help them make significant gains in their language learning. Maybe you have jumped on some bandwagons like myself—early CALL trends. Back in 1992 when I got my first teaching job, I used to create ‘interactive’ lessons using HyperCard on Apple 2es. I spent laborious hours making copies for my students on floppy diskettes, just so they could line up in our one lab to try out these lessons. Even with those early HyperCard lessons, I saw how students reacted when something was new, engaging and different. Those light bulb moments kept me digging deeper into not only the impact technology has on learning, but also the most effective and valuable ways to incorporate technology into my classes. Continue reading
If you have been following along, your interest may have been piqued regarding blended learning. Blended learning involves blending the brick of the physical classroom, with the click of a digital environment. You may have been surprised to learn that employing a blended learning approach to language teaching actually has many advantages over just a traditional textbook.