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Flipped-mastery classes: implementing them in 8 stages

Following Bergmann & Sams, if we want to implement  flipped-mastery classes we should follow eight stages: 

In many ways, their indications are not very different from what some of you already do, as you will notice.

Stage 1: Establish clear policies

The first thing they advise us to do is to establish clear policies right from day 1. It is important that students are shown the model and how it works. They suggest making a video explaining the system. I know that many of you do establish clear policies right from the beginning because we all know that doing so prevents discipline problems and misunderstandings. Consider then:

How would you explain the model of the flipped-mastery class?

Write a brief explanation: it will help you clarify ideas and your explanation will be more convincing.

How would you do it in the English class?

Consider what points you really want to flip: when you explain new structures, layout organisation etc:

  • Are they equally beneficial to all your students?
  • Do some of them find them unnecessary because they are already familiar with them?
  • Would any of your students need further clarification, revision etc?

Perhaps you could flip those explanations.

Alternatively, to decide what you want to flip (certainly not all your classes and even less all at the same time) you can think of your students’ expected learning outcomes and see when they would need individual instruction. This may also be a good element to flip, as they can watch the explanations as many —or as few— times as they need.

Stage 2: Inform the parents

The second point is, of course, inform the parents of the model. You can do that through a letter and by constant communication with them. Teachers who have implemented the flipped-mastery classroom tend to say that parents look a bit dubious at first. Soon after, however, they are truly enthusiastic because, if they so wish, they can “learn” with their children.

Stage 3: Teach your students how to watch and interact

The third important aspect is to teach students how to watch and interact with videos. You can do so by watching the videos together in class to start with, giving the control to one student at a time for pausing and repeating when necessary.

In English, we are not teaching content but language so it is unlikely that students have to take notes. But you can set some basic drills to do, multiple choice activities, quizzes, etc.  I will try to give you some examples in the next post on flipping.

In the  POPPIES courses, for example, where we flip the classes and we blend the courses, turning them into online ones with videos and reading materials, you will be expected to take notes and answer some questions.

Stage 4: Have students ask interesting questions

The fourth tip they give us to implement the flipped-mastery classroom is to have students ask interesting questions. What do you understand by “interesting questions”? Obviously, it will depend on the subject, so let’s think of English as a foreign language first, and then of something they are doing in English in collaboration with another subject. Do you ever work in collaboration with other teachers, I mean, teachers of subjects other than English? If so, what are your experiences? I’ll illustrate this in the next post.

Stage 5: Organise classroom layout for flipped-mastery

The fifth measure to take is, again, something lots of you are doing already: organise the layout of the classroom for flipped-mastery.

That means the teacher’s desk or a group of desks in the centre and then others in a circle, around the one in the middle and forming groups.

Each group will be focusing on different aspects: one group reading, another writing, another on the computers, etc. It is important for students to use the smart boards themselves if available, which means that the smart boards need to be properly displayed.

Stage 6: Allow students to manage their own time & workload

The sixth is to allow students to manage their own time and workload. This will not only promote mastery learning but will also give students a sense of responsibility for their own learning and of freedom.


Stage 7: Encourage kids to help other kids

Even though I like all the suggestions, I particularly favour the seventh: encourage kids to help other kids. I have personally found that explaining things to other people is one of the best ways for you to learn and to see what aspects are not totally clear. Besides, helping others fosters cooperation, responsibility and social awareness.


Stage 8: Build appropriate assessment systems

Finally, it is essential to build appropriate assessment systems. We can do that by means of new technologies, formative and learning-oriented assessments, asking the right formative assessment questions and summative assessment.

So, let us finish this post with Confessions from a flipped classroom, where a teacher tells us a bit about his experiences.

Desde sus orígenes, el objetivo de PoppieS es ayudarte en la preparación de la oposición a profesores de inglés y contribuir a que la escuela pública ofrezca la enseñanza de calidad –de y en lengua inglesa– que tus alumnos necesitan en el s. XXI

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