Flipped Impact Project - Introduction
Even if we come from different backgrounds and teach in different countries, we daily observe similar learning barriers among our students, no matter the type of school they attend; and we daily struggle to devise innovative strategies and approaches to better succeed in our educational mission. With this project we want to exploit our different know-how and good practices to design, test, validate and implement Flipped Classroom in language learning. This will enable students with different backgrounds and futures to participate in active-learning experiences. We will trigger students' curiosity in order to involve them more in the learning process and make them discover contents, instead of simply receiving them or taking them for granted.
We have focused on these priorities because the issue of language skills as key competencies for internationalization and lifelong learning are central policy concerns of the EU. The lack of language competencies is one of the main barriers to participation in European education, so we need to look for innovative methods in order to improve the teaching and learning of languages, promote the linguistic diversity and intercultural awareness. In the 21st century education, collaboration and technology are two indispensable components. Today, most educational endeavors tend to be interwoven with technology and technology-mediated language learning practices are gaining prominence in education day by day. Collaboration is not only limited to the employees in the same educational institutions but also across the institutions. Given that the 21st century education is characterized by technology-driven collaborative endeavors, it is very important that schools and universities work together and produce synergy in such learning environments that involve technology-supported classroom practices with a professional collegial team spirit.
Providing the students with ICT supported learning environments with the collaboration between K-12 schools and universities, we intend to encourage increased learning motivation and student engagement, combined with understanding and applying higher-order thinking skills. Our project also offers practical examples of effective practices to promote educational success and prevent early school leaving.
At the same time, the prospective EFL teachers, who are expected to work in K-12 schools, are required to enhance their digital and pedagogical competencies and to be engaged in professional development activities where they can be provided with opportunities to bridge the theory and practice in their area of specialization. In fact, the only professional opportunity that the prospective teachers have is the practicum period in their final year, where they are engaged in teaching English in K-12 schools. It is very important that they be placed in quality K-12 schools where they are granted learning opportunities to improve their pedagogical content knowledge through classroom observation and ample practice opportunities to put their pedagogical knowledge into practice.
Our project addresses the aforementioned issues by promoting collaborative and autonomous work in K-12 schools with the cooperation between the English language teaching departments and K-12 schools in different countries through the integration of effective technology-mediated flipped learning activities. As a student-centered instructional model, the flipped approach is grounded in the constructivist theory of learning (Strayer, 2012). In constructivism, knowledge is actively constructed by the learner, not passively received from the outside. The flipped approach aims to create a student-centered learning environment in which students the responsibility of their own learning and become more active and interactive in class. It increases students’ motivation and satisfaction with their learning, allows them to learn at their own pace, be responsible for their own learning, and provides an opportunity for differentiated teaching for a range of students’ abilities. In the flipped classroom, students work through problems, advance concepts, and engage in collaborative learning. Such collaborative activities are effective in supporting students’ higher level of understanding.
We firmly believe that working together, we will be able to implement and develop a more creative approach to difficult topics, as well as to a different way to look at and discover the world around us. Our cooperation will also enhance a more comprehensive European awareness. In other words, we expect both teachers and students to put their minds on the move.