December 13, 2011

The Flipped Classroom - Would it work in Brazil?

In my previous post, I talked about a concept which I first heard about in Khan's lecture at TED "flipping the classroom". The idea of recording videos of lectures and devoting classroom time for practice activities seems to be VERY INTERESTING.

Flipped Classroom
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Then, I thought, how could we flip our English classes? In my context, in language institutes, we normally start our classes presenting a new topic (vocabulary or grammar) and then move on to exercises (written and oral) to help students consolidate knowlegde by using it.

I guess a way of flipping our classrooms would be to record mini lessons presenting the topic beforehand and then practice, practice, practice in class.

My question is: would students watch the video at home?

I've just talked to 3 Brazilian teenagers at home (my son and 2 cousins) and I made them the same question:

If you had to watch a video for homework, would you watch it?
Boys- Maybe not.

But if your teacher told you to watch a video in order to be able to do some exercises the following class, would you watch the video?
Boys - We would, we would be afraid of not being able to do the exercises the following class but many of our classmates wouldn't. They would ask the teacher to explain again.

And if you had access to lots of video lectures before tests, do you think it would help you study?
Boys- Sure, if we had problems we would be able to watch the video lecture again and again.

Well, I think the idea is fantastic, however, I don't know how well Brazilian learners would adapt to it. The problem is that our students have been accustomed to the traditional format for too long and end up having a passive attitude to learning.

Is it worth a try? I truly think so. If I'm brave enough, maybe next semester, I'll post about a flipped experience in an English Class.

This is a video from Students who have tried the Flipped Classroom