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Are flipped-mastery classrooms a pipedream or a way to help all students?

Often, when I talk to teachers about flipped-mastery classrooms, they tell me that it would work with highly motivated students only.

Let's flip a coin And I can see their point.

However, I also think that, perhaps, we need to flip the idea:

wouldn’t flipping our English classes be a way to motivate our students and help them achieve mastery?

Let’s see what Sams & Bergmann say about this in their book “Flipped classrooms”, which I commented on in my previous post. (Remember that there are many ways to flip a class)

Learning cannot be pushed

Apart from stating that there’s no single way to flip a class, they also say that learning is something personal and cannot be pushed. In other words, we all learn at our own pace. Each one of us needs a different length of time to reach mastery.

Learning to reach Mastery

Referring to Bloom, they state that any student can learn and master anything given the appropriate time and support. That is, students –and we should not forget that we are students ourselves– can learn anything if two essential conditions are met:

  • They are given the time they need so that they can learn at their own pace.
  • They are set clear, achievable objectives for each stage in their learning towards mastery. 

The 6 Key Components of a flipped-mastery class

  1. Setting clear learning objectives is the very first. The reason for this is that without clear and achievable objectives we cannot reach anything. Certainly, not mastery.
  2. Determining which objectives are best achieved through enquiry and which through direct instruction.
  3.  If through direct instruction, creating videos, power-point presentations or similar, and assuring that all students have access to them.
  4. Designing engaging activities for class.
  5. Creating multiple versions of summative assessment as samples of mastery achieved by students.
  6. Setting clear, specific objectives for every single unit; including
    1. materials such as videos, slides, books to read, etc.,
    2. required activities and
    3. hands-on activities.

Why a flipped-mastery class benefits all students

The reasons they give to support the flipped-mastery class is that this approach:

  • Teaches students to value learning.
  • Makes students take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Personalises and differentiates every student in the classroom because:
  • Makes learning (what students have and have not learnt) the centre of the class.
  • Instruction is asynchronous;
  • To move on, students need to have a good grasp of the essential contents which allow them to achieve the objectives.
  • Gives students instant feedback & reduces teacher paperwork.
  • Provides opportunities for remedial work.
  • Allows for multiple means of learning content.
  • Provides many chances for showing understanding.
  • Changes the role of the teacher.
  • Increases cooperation and students’ self-assurance.

Still not sure?

Still not convinced and thinking that it can only work with highly motivated students? Or, on the contrary, you think that it is a good way of motivating students?
Whichever way, we’d love to hear your views on the subject.

You may also wish to check out how it has been implemented in the sample syllabus design I have included

a) In the book Inglés Programación Didáctica

b) in the New Edition of the Poppies’ Foundation Course. Available as from July 2017. (I’ll be giving detailed information about this  in the next few weeks).

Previous post on Flipping & Mastery Learning
On my next post, I’ll cover Sams & Bergmann’s suggestions on how to implement the flipped-mastery classroom.

Apasionada de la lengua inglesa y sus múltiples matices, mi objetivo 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 nuestros alumnos necesitan en el s. XXI

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