Gain Time and Differentiate to Meet Student Needs in University Learning Environments: A Flipped Learning Approach

Gain Time and Differentiate to Meet Student Needs in University Learning Environments: A Flipped Learning Approach

Lauren Beth Rosen (University of Wisconsin, USA), Magara Maeda (University of Wisconsin – River Falls, USA) and Natalia Roberts (University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1803-7.ch013
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Flipped learning is a way to regain lost time and provide support for students where they really need it. This became especially apparent in Interactive Two-way Videoconference (ITV) based distance courses where lost time and difficulties differentiating for students across multiple campuses created great frustration. Language educators are very accustomed to and comfortable with students working in groups and pairs, unlike other disciplines, to problem solve, think critically and develop content. This chapter discusses how Russian and Japanese instructors moved the “fact learning” parts of lessons to independent study while increasing opportunities for students to practice creating with the language in a supported teacher-guided environment. In the process, they regained lost time to focus on increasing student proficiency, addressed specific student misconceptions, and more easily differentiated instruction to meet student learning styles.
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The focus of the CLP program is to diversify language offerings on small to medium-sized university campuses that cannot otherwise afford to offer a full array of language options to their students. Currently the CLP languages offered are Arabic, Chinese, Hmong, Japanese, and Russian. These languages are considered critical to addressing social, economic, and security needs of our state and our country. Students in the CLP program have chosen to take these languages that the Foreign Service Institute categorizes as level III and IV in difficulty on a 1 to 5 (easiest to most difficult) scale for speakers of English. That means that in order for native English speakers to reach a general professional proficiency level in speaking and reading, they need a minimum of 1100-2200 class hours in the language (Thompson, 2014). Through the CLP, face-to-face time for some students is in a classroom with a teacher physically present, while other students, together in a classroom at a different university, communicate with the origination site using microphones and room cameras. The students at the receiving locations have chosen to take these courses knowing that they will be communicating with their instructor and an additional cohort of students in a distant classroom.

What language educators often do not realize, whether teaching in a distance environment or in a traditional one, is that flipped instruction is a pedagogical hop for them, not a leap. Unlike other disciplines, language educators are very accustomed to, and comfortable with, students working in groups and pairs as they problem solve, think critically, and create content in the target language to demonstrate their knowledge. In 1956, Bloom’s Taxonomy was devised to provide a common language to address the cognitive progression of learning. This taxonomy was developed by not only Bloom, but his colleagues Engelhart, Furst, Hill, and Krathwohl, who were also struggling with the need for a framework that would support the development of educational objectives and the activities and assessments that measure how well students meet those objectives. In 2001, Krathwohl, along with several of his colleagues, revised the original taxonomy. In this revised version, the lower order thinking skills are identified as Remember, Understand, and Apply. The higher order thinking skills include Analyze, Evaluate, and Create (Krathwohl, 2002). Focusing on this revised taxonomy, the authors look at how flipped instruction affords the use of techniques that move the “fact learning” (lower order thinking skills parts of lessons) to independent study, and the analysis and creative use of language (higher order thinking skills) to a supported, teacher-guided environment.

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