It has occurred to me that through my years flipping my class, the one thing that was the BEST thing that happened was that the students became the center of the classroom universe.This has taken many forms, and has looked different as time has gone by, but the fact remains it is the student-centered aspect of the flipped class that has made all of the difference in my teaching and their learning.
What does student centered learning look like in my class?
- Students have the opportunity to choose their own personal vocabulary to learn in each thematic unit.
- In each unit, students must choose 15 - 20 words that they want to know. For example, in the house unit, when students are creating their dream house, these words should be included. (ie - the gun room, the horse stall, the arena, mud room, etc.)
- Students can allocate their time to activities that they feel need the most attention to obtain proficiency.
- If a student is an excellent writer, but struggles with listening activities, they can spend more class time on listening activities and less on writing activities.
- Students can also be directed by me to repeat activities to ensure comprehension as many times as it takes for them to obtain proficiency.
- Students have the choice between different activities and assignments whenever possible to spark their interest.
- For example - projects about books must show comprehension, but can be presentations, posters, written assignments, cartoons, art projects, etc. depending upon the students interests.
- Students can adapt written practice depending upon their level. If a student can demonstrate knowledge of a concept after 10 practice sentences, they don't need to do 25. If a student needs more than 25 to demonstrate knowledge, that is what they need to do.
- Students have the responsibility to make sure they understand the concepts presented.
- If a student does not understand, they must make the effort to redo assignments.
- If they need additional help, they are responsible for speaking up and asking questions.
- When students are assessed on the can do statements for the unit, if they cannot successfully complete the activity outlined by the can do, they need to go back and redo it until they can demonstrate comprehension.
- Students can ask to demonstrate their proficiency with an assessment I did not propose.
- If a student has another idea of how to demonstrate their proficiency of a concept, they can propose it and use that as an assessment.
- Students can become teachers of their peers.
- When a student teaches another, that is when they truly understand the material. Whether it be word choice, word, order, pronunciation, or colloquial phrases students are empowered to support their peers through peer instruction.
The freedom that the flipped class gives the students to control the class can be overwhelming at first. However, it is the best way for them to understand their learning needs and increase their proficiency in the language. By continuing to keep the focus of the class on them, the material is relevant and inspires them to learn.