Fresh Beginnings, Blended Learning and FLIPping

SCAD Language Studio ? Professor Christina Cavage, Human Resources headshot, Fall 2013 ? Photography by Stephanie Krell, courtesy of SCADChristina Cavage

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

Flipping: Intentional Content

2014_CCavageChristina Cavage

Are you making a shift? A shift in the way you think about the delivery of course content?  In this month’s newsletter I’d like to focus on the I in FLIP—Intentional Content—my favorite pillar.

Intentional content is all about choosing the best content to be delivered in the classroom, and the best content to be delivered outside of the classroom.  In a typical classroom today, we often teach new language structures or functions in the classroom and assign homework in which students have to apply, evaluate or create with the new language.  However, flipping is all about taking the learning, the new content, outside of the classroom.  Consider Bloom’s Taxonomy for a minute.


We often work on the lower levels of Bloom’s in class: Remembering and Understanding while we leave the Applying, Analyzing and Creating for outside of class.  In a Flipped Classroom, Remembering and Understanding are moved outside of the classroom– leaving room for Creating, Analyzing and Applying in the classroom. You may be thinking, “Don’t students need instructors to explain new structures and concepts?”  Absolutely.  However, many digital tools allow us to do this quite easily.  So, what content should be moved outside of the classroom? What content would benefit students greatly to hear again and again?  In class, we often only have ‘time’ to explain things once or twice.  However, if we moved this outside of the classroom, students could get the repetition so many of them need. Take a look at this video: Next Generation Grammar, 1, Chapter 16 Video

Moving this simple instruction outside of the classroom, allows learners to really engage and interact with the new information in a safe environment, at their own pace.  Additionally, think of all the applying, analyzing and creating that could happen the next class period.  We could have students prepare dialogues where they are comparing one class to another, one place to another.  Or, perhaps, we can have students write a comparison paragraph.  Students can aid one another in the revision of the paragraphs.  You can bring items in and have students compare the items.  The possibilities are endless.

Should all new content be moved outside of the classroom?  Absolutely not!  That again, is where the I comes in.  It must be intentional.  Start small.  Use the wealth of resources that already exist…  Khan Academy, YouTube, TeacherTube, TedEd, MyEnglishLab. Intentionally selecting the best content will not only free up your class time to really apply learning, but it will also greatly benefit your students.  They will develop greater learner autonomy.



Flipping: A Learning and Teaching Shift

2014_Christina_CavageChristina Cavage

Have you been flipping?  Have you found more Flexibility (the F in Flip) with offering some instruction outside of the classroom?  In this month’s newsletter I’d like to focus on the L in FLIP—Learning Culture, as well as give you a little preview of what I will be presenting at TESOL 2014! Continue reading

Blending Instruction through a Flipped Model

2014_CCavageChristina Cavage

In last month’s newsletter I wrote all about the increased level of engagement among students when a blended model is employed.  I touched briefly on the FLIPped model.  In this edition, I’d like to take a deeper look at the FLIPped model and what exactly it means for an ESL classroom.  Continue reading

Transform the Way You Teach

Christina Cavage

Christina Cavage

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.

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