Gilberto Nuñez, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Nowadays the way of teaching has changed due to new technology. Whereas in the past decades accessing information required more time, now everything is immediate, which has made the work of the educator different. For this reason (and others), educators should think of new ways to use classrooms more effectively. They must change from teaching-centered to learner-centered.

Importance of Active Learning in the Acquisition of a Second Language

In the process of learning a new language, an active participation by the student is required, which is why “active learning” takes a very important role. So students must engage with the material for this technique to be effective. Since in the learning of a foreign language there are few opportunities to put in practice the target language, the classroom becomes their only ally to do so. Undertaking the process through active learning allows the acquisition of the second language to be more successful.

In active learning, students read, write, discuss, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate. In other words, in active learning the student uses a higher order of thinking.

Flipped Classroom

Once the student has reviewed and understood in advance the material that will be covered in class, the classroom must be used effectively for the student to put into practice what has already been learned. This practice is called “the flipped classroom”, which is characterized as a pedagogical model where instruction is received outside the classroom.

Positive Aspects of Flipped Classrooms

One of the positive aspects of promoting flipped classrooms is that it gives students more opportunity to become involved in the learning process. This is because it requires them to be more active during class. It is not about learning material in the moment, but putting into practice what was learned in advance. The teacher’s task in this case will be to monitor the students while doing the activity to give them immediate and individual or group feedback. Through this technique, students have more time in class to carry out other learning activities. In contrast to passive learning, active learning offers greater opportunities to perform activities where students correct their work.

Making the Language Acquisition More Relevant to the Students’ Life

Significantly, student motivation increases in active learning spaces. Therefore, acquiring a target language requires students to appropriate the activities through interaction, active participation, and use of the target language in more authentic contexts. For example, ones that have more significance to their own life experiences so that the activity has more relevance for them.

Some Resources to Increase Active Learning in Classroom

Thinking about technology, “iClickers” promote active learning in the classroom. To demonstrate, iClickers allow students to answer questions anonymously in class. Afterwards, students see the results on a graph. Following a brief discussion with each other, feedback can be provided. Similarly, Kahoot is another resource that can be utilized in the classroom in occasions such as reviews.

Conclusion

With the use of the flipped classroom and active learning techniques, we can make time in the classroom more beneficial. In addition, students will have more reasons to attend the classroom. Attending spaces where the teacher explains what they can learn on their own at home does not have the same effect as putting what they learned previously into practice. It is more important to use the classroom as a resource to increase skills that in other spaces would not be possible.

References

Agbatogun, Alaba Olaoluwakotansibe. “Developing Learners’ Second Language Communicative Competence through Active Learning: Clickers or Communicative Approach?.” Journal of Educational Technology & Society, vol. 17, no.2, 2014, pg. 257-69.

Amiryousefi, Mohammad. “The Incorporation of Flipped Learning into Conventional Classes to Enhance EFL Learners’ L2 Speaking, L2 Listening, and Engagement.” Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, vol. 13, no. 2, 2019, pg.147-61.

Chuang, Hsueh‐Hua, Chih‐Yuan Weng, and Ching‐Huei Chen. “Which Students Benefit Most from a Flipped Classroom Approach to Language Learning?” British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 49, no.1, 2018, pg. 56-68.

Laufer, Batia. “The Development of Passive and Active Vocabulary in a Second Language: Same or Different?.” Applied linguistics, vol.19, no.2, 1998, pg. 255-71.

Roehl, Amy, Shweta Linga Reddy, and Gayla Jett Shannon. “The Flipped Classroom: An Opportunity to Engage Millennial Students through Active Learning Strategies.” Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences, vol. 105, no. 2, 2013, pg. 44-9.

Walker, Stacy E. “Active Learning Strategies to Promote Critical Thinking.” Journal of athletic training, vol. 38, no.3, 2003, pg. 263.

Matthew Mahavongtrakul edited this post on June 10th, 2019.

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