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Second Language Teacher’s Guide to the Flipped Classroom
Dakota Hale
Arizona State University

Author Note




In the past few years the pedagogical model of the “Flipped Classroom” has gained
popularity among educators, initially at the secondary level and now at the university level. In
the 2015-2016 school year, Arizona State University listed its first intensive language courses,
which implemented the flipped model. During this time the author of this project was given the
opportunity to work as the facilitator for the flipped French courses FRE 110 and 210. While
helping to implement the flipped model, he reflected on his experiences, discusses its advantages
and limitations with other second language instructors teaching in a flipped environment, and
researched a large array of academic and educational resources. This creative project was
completed to practically apply the techniques developed in the intensive French course and those
developed by other educators in order to give advice and strategies to future instructors. It
represents a web Guide to the Flipped Classroom in Second Language Teaching, which includes
research on educational practices such as course design, syllabus creation, and lesson planning;
infographics and other visual representations of the flipped model; sample home-made and
professional course materials; embedded informational videos; and advice on implementing the
flipped model. While other websites exist, there are few that reflect specifically on the use of the
flipped classroom in second language teaching, and even fewer that discuss the challenges and
limitations associated with the model in as great of detail. Furthermore, the guide contains an
extensive list of online tools for the creation of multimedia materials, such as screen capturing
and YouTube-clipping programs, as well as a variety of different resource sites where educators
can find and share materials. Overall, this web guide acts as a useful tool for second language
instructors in secondary education, higher education, or any other educational setting who wish
to implement this up-and-coming teaching model.



A Guide to the Flipped Classroom in Second Language Teaching
The “Flipped Classroom” is a pedagogical model whose existence can be attested as far
back as 2008 but which has gained noticeable popularity within the past four years, though it has
potentially existed under one name or another for much longer (Tucker 2012). In STEM classes
across the United States teachers have begun to flip and in the 2015-1016 academic year, Arizona
State University listed their first intensive flipped foreign language courses for French, Italian,
Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese. It was then that I was given the opportunity to act as the
learning facilitator and assistant to Dr. Bahtchevanova in the intense flipped French courses, FRE
110 and 210. During my time working with her, I helped to create and implement activities,
discussed course progress, examined the usage of the model by Dr. Bahtchevanova and other
instructors, and researched the flipped classroom.
The flipped model is defined by its reimagining of class time, specifically lecturing, and
homework. The two are in essence flipped. Class time is devoted to active learning activities and
furthering student understanding of course concepts, while homework is comprised of videos,
readings, listening and practice activities for students to use to teach themselves the materials
before coming to class. Due to the newness of the flipped model and its popularity mainly
outside of higher education scholarly research is both limited and lacking a consensus over its
definition (Bishop et al 2013). Some researchers consider only classes which use video lectures
as being truly “flipped,” one study taking a total of 24 self-proclaimed flipped STEM classes and
only accepting 13 because of the requirement to employ video lectures and never lecture at all
during class time (Bishop et al 2013). Meanwhile, other educators such as some of ASU’s
intensive professors, make use of primarily written, yet still flipped, materials. What research
there is to be had is predominantly of an introductory nature, describing the model as a new wave



of educational practice, and when specific to a subject it is almost always in math or science. For
these reasons, much of the current research and advice for teachers is not fully relevant to second
language instructors, especially if they are already familiar with the model. Nevertheless, the
model is found to be effective for both educators and their students in math and science,
oftentimes even leading to more positive student attitudes towards the subject. According to the
testimony of ASU intensive flipped language professors, my own experience over this past year,
and student scores on the year-end standardized test, the model is showing equally positive
results for foreign language. However, any relative increase in student motivation is unclear as to
whether this is because the courses are flipped or rather because they are intensive and therefore
bear more motivated students. This model helps to make the traditional lecture more productive
and is particularly promising for large research institutions with equally large classes, such as
ASU because it allows for better use of faculty member time and better learning outcomes
(Harrison Keller in Berrett 2012).
In light of the lack of research, and my desire to create something of practical use to
teachers who wish to implement the model in their own classes, I decided to create a guide to
using the model for second language learning. The content of the guide reflects the suggestions
of other educators, such as those in blog posts and news articles, but primarily contains advice
and strategies I encountered myself while working as a facilitator. The creative project is in the
form of website, for easy and visually-appealing access for fellow educators, using the website creation tool. The site makes use of pictures, charts, and especially
infographics made by educators and companies such as Knewton to display the benefits of the
model, and also employs embedded videos and pdf files including a lesson plan before and after
flipping. Importantly, the site features a list of links to a variety of free and subscription-based



online tools (such as website creators, video editors, material sharing sites, and resources which
can help to replace systems such as Blackboard) for educators to use, with a short description of
each tool’s usage. Along with these links to materials, I post all the various academic and
educational resources and research sites I referenced in the creation of the guide. I complied
these tips and tricks and useful materials for use by language teachers aspiring to implement this
model in their classrooms, whether in higher education, secondary education, or another
educational setting, and no matter their familiarity with the model. Those who are quite familiar
with flipped learning will find easy and to-the-point advice on handling some of its difficulties,
while also providing an in-depth overview for those who are not familiar with the model.
The site’s Barrett page can be reached at:
Unfortunately, I was unable to find experiments that explicitly relate the flipped model to
second language teaching. However, many past studies point to the efficacy of internet-based
learning. The Internet has been found to strengthen students' linguistic skills by improving
overall language learning attitudes (Felix, 2001; Kung & Chuo, 2002; Son, 2007, 2008; SteppGreany, 2002; Yang & Chen, 2007), by cultivating self-instruction strategies (e.g., Dunkel, Brill
& Kohl, 2002; Harris, 2003), and by boosting student self-confidence (e.g., Dooly, 2007;
Kokkas, 1999; Nga, 2002) (quoted in Mohamad 2009).
Students in one study were found to unanimously favor instruction that utilized the
Internet over strictly traditional pen and paper courses, faring better in activities related to
identifying parts of speech, more-successfully making subject-verb agreement, and generally
making fewer errors in written assignments (Muhamad 2009). The nature of the “Internet-based”
instruction found in this study closely resemble that of the flipped model. While the traditional
classroom relied entirely on notetaking, lectures, and the textbook, this “internet-based” course,



which is not to say an online course as students met in person just as often as the traditional
course, used online readings, activities, and multi-media materials to learn the content in addition
to their time in class. This is a form of “active learning” from students as they take the
responsibility upon themselves to use all the materials they can access to learn course concepts,
rather than relying on lectures and studying notes. The “active learning” and “student-centered
approach” displayed by this early study, two of the core underlying principles of the flipped
model, are found to be beneficial in later studies. For science classes, implementing active
learning exercises led to an increase in student examination performance of around a standard
deviation with a meta-analyses reporting effect sizes of 0.50, 0.51, and in 2014 a size of 0.47
(Freeman 2014). This increases the average examination score of students by 6%, raising a B to a
B+, and allowing a student in the 50 th percentile of a traditional course to, under active learning,
raise to the equivalent of the 68 th percentile of that course (Freeman 2014). A second study found
a mean normalized gain of 48% for “interactive classes” (those that used active learning) and a
staggering gain of 58% when utilizing an “integrated approach” to active learning (Drinkwater et
al 2014). An “integrated approach” is described as an “interactive” class, one with active learning
activities, in which students not only taught themselves target concepts before class using course
materials (readings, videos, podcasts, activities) but in which the professor always discussed
“core content” in detail (Drinkwater et al 2014).
In order to fully evaluate the flipped learning model for second language acquisition,
however, a particular study would need to be conducted. In such an “ideal” experiment one
would need two nearly-identical classes as relates to GPA, age, gender, motivation, attendance,
and prior language knowledge. To ensure these factors remain constant across the experimental
class and the control the classes would need to be in the same language and be composed of the



same number of male, female, older, younger, high-achieving, and low-achieving students with
similar prior knowledge in the target language. Not only this, but each class would need the same
policy of attendance, be at the same time on different days, and be taught by the same teacher.
With two such closely-matched classes, one would be taught using the flipped model, supported
by online resources, possibly an eBook, and plenty of instructional materials for students to
effectively teach themselves course concepts, while the second control class would be taught
using only the traditional model. The flipped class would need to be defined as a primarily inperson course, meeting just as often and for just as long as the traditional course, but which
expects students to learn course materials before coming to class. In the flipped class, students
then apply and further their understanding of course concepts through active learning activities,
while in the traditional group subjects would spend class time lecturing and taking notes.
Multiple instances of such an experiment would undoubtedly display the flipped model as
effective for language teaching.
A similar experiment to this ideal has been conducted, only for science instead of
language, and for a shorter time frame. This study, using two groups of more than 400
engineering students taking a required physics course, implemented the flipped model for a
single week after having spent the last 11 weeks in a traditional setting. This “flipped week” was
only experienced by one of the two groups, and at the end of this week of two different methods
of instruction students in both the flipped and traditional class were given a voluntary pre-test.
These test results showed an average score of 41% for the traditionally-taught group, while the
experimental group scored at an average of 74% despite not being able to cover all the required
material like the traditional group (DesLauriers et al 2011). This significant increase in student
performance, coupled with the fact that the experimental students were not able to engage with



all of the concepts they were tested on, shows that the flipped model led to a tremendous increase
in student understanding of the topics covered. Not only were students able to perform better on
this pre-test, but they also had an 18% increase in attendance rate and a 40% increase in in-class
engagement as compared to their average scores over the past 11 weeks (DesLauriers et al 2011).
In addition to achieving higher test scores, students attested to a more positive outlook on the
class itself than before.
While no valuable experiment has been conducted in the second language classroom, the
success of the ASU intensive flipped courses various European and East Asian languages as
measured by the standardized STAMP test as well as high student enrollment, extant findings in
the value of internet-based learning, active-learning, and an integrated approached to instruction,
along with experiments completed in flipped science courses suggest this pedagogical model to
be a highly effective tool in the modern classroom. As I lack the resources to conduct such a
controlled experiment, and as insufficient studies on the model have been conducted previously, I
decided to take my experiences facilitating a flipped language course, and the discussions I have
had and the advice I have been given by other flipped instructors, and apply them for practical
Using the Weebly website creation tool, I designed and wrote a visual guide to the flipped
model, specifically for second language teachers, so that my research and the insights I have
gained can be shared with others. The guide makes use of embedded images, documents, videos,
and infographics as supplements to my written content. The guide discusses the what, or the
definition, the why, or the advantages, the why not, the challenges and limitations, and the how
of implementing this model. Additionally, it contains a large, organized collection of online tools
for teachers to use to both find and create instructional materials, such as programs that capture a



computer screen into video, programs that help to cut and add quizzes and other questions to an
already-existing Youtube video, and various teacher sharing sites. It is my hope that my guide
can be used by second language teachers in any educational setting to get a well-informed start to
the creation of their own flipped courses.



Berrett, D (2012). How 'Flipping' the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture, The
Education Digest, 78 (1) 36-41
Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A. (2013, June). The flipped classroom: A survey of the research.
In ASEE National Conference Proceedings, Atlanta, GA.
DesLauriers L, Schelew E, and Wieman C (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment
physics class. Science 332: 862-864.
Drinkwater, M. J., Gannaway, D., Sheppard, K., Davis, M. J., Wegener, M. J., Bowen, W. P., &
Corney, J. F. (2014). Managing Active Learning Processes in Large First Year Physics
Classes: The Advantages of an Integrated Approach. Teaching & Learning Inquiry: The
ISSOTL Journal, 2(2), 75–90.
Freeman, S., Eddy, S.L., McDonough, M., Smith, M.K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth,
M.P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and
mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410-8415.
Mohamad, F. (2009). Internet-based grammar instruction in the ESL classroom. International
Journal of Pedagogies & Learning, 5(2), 34-48.
Tucker, Bill. "The flipped classroom." Education Next 12.1 (2012).