How I Started Flipping

--Originally published at Flipped Learning in My Beginning German Courses

I have been teaching German language, culture and literature at the college level for a very long time and have always enjoyed it. There are, however, a few aspects I truly love about interacting with my students, and I wanted to multiply them in depth, intensity, and duration:

  • Making class time dynamic and FUN.
  • Harnessing the knowledge of more advanced students and/or the energy of highly motivated learners to help their struggling or less interested peers.
  • Having sufficient time in class to answer students' smart questions about German culture: "Why don't Germans smile at random strangers more often?  or "Why is a college education nearly free in Germany?" or "How do many Germans construct a self-identity?" 
  • Seeing students overcome the fear of producing utterances in a second language.
  • Helping students individually, depending on their personal needs.
  • Assessing all of the learning that occurred in my classroom, not just isolated vocabulary or grammar.
  • Celebrating students' success in communicating in German.
  • Boosting the motivation in the classroom and outside through in-depth cultural discussions that make my learners think critically.
  • Providing explanations that students can access a second (or third or fourth) time around.
  • Witnessing students connect to the German culture in their own meaningful ways.
  • Talking less while my students interact and collaborate more in the target language.
  • Developing more intellectually each semester rather than repeating the same lessons and jokes year after year.
  • Giving students detailed feedback on the spot (instead of grading stacks of homework that those students who need my explanations usually just toss as soon as I return to them my toil of many hours).

Incorporating flipped learning into my German college classrooms supports these student needs and my own desires as a professional educator. I hope you, too, will discover the same joy of reconnecting your discipline, your students, and yourself in this innovative and gratifying manner.



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