A flipped classroom project that has taught me many things

At the risk of seeming conceited, I would say that the small-scale Flipped Classroom project that Zoe Chan and I tried out was a big success. We chose 3 segments of a unit from the P4 coursebook, and turned them into 3 flipped lessons: a vocabulary lesson, a grammar lesson, and a speaking lesson. For each lesson, we flipped the content presentation part which was normally done in the classroom, and turned it into a short video and a student-self-check task (Quizlet; Edpuzzle). We experimented with 3 different ways of producing the pre-class videos: (a) turning a PPT into a video; (b) simulated classroom teaching using a blackboard-size touch screen, and (c) filming a group of students role-playing a conversation that incorporated the target expressions.

On the next day after the students had done the pre-class task, we started the lesson with a quick review, and we then immediately moved on to the practice or application activities. In all the three flipped lessons, we had plenty of time for the practical student activities, which are essential to effective language acquisition. We also took the opportunity to try out various e-learning activities during the 3 lessons.The students were kept busy throughout; they were highly engaged, and they learned happily throughout the lessons. The 3 lessons were testimony that school lessons can be effective and enjoyable at the same time.
But good teaching does not just happen by chance. It is the result of adequate and creative planning. The screen-captured picture below shows only part of the preparation we made. (There were other materials we used but which could not be put in Google Drive.) Again, this points to the importance of giving teachers adequate time for lesson planning, if we really care about quality teaching and learning, rather than depleting all their energy with endless marking and non-teaching duties.

This project has also been a valuable experience for me in terms of how to collaborate with other people on a project that requires creativity. Both Zoe and I are highly creative people. We have never run short of ideas. Rather, we have had to learn how to respect, and accommodate, each other’s ideas. This process often involved give and take. Another thing is that each of us could be changing our own ideas all the time. This required patience, and a willingness to understand the other person’s line of thinking.

Lastly, my salutes to Zoe Chan, for her colossal enthusiasm, her supreme professionalism, her total dedication to teaching, and her boundless love for her students.


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