ECU German Professor Shares Flipped Learning Experience
Dr. Birgit Jensen, associate professor of German at ECU, recently shared her experiences with flipped learning during a podcast hosted by the Flipped Learning Network. Jensen has been teaching German at ECU for 17 years and started flipping her Beginning German courses in 2014.
“I wanted to turn my students on to the language and teach them cross-cultural critical thinking skills,” Jensen explained. “What I basically did was shift the lower-cognitive content outside of the class to use the freed classroom time to apply that knowledge and embed the culture – it has been working beautifully.”
Jensen employs worksheets, videos, and slides to deliver content outside the classroom. When the students are together they use that knowledge in discussion groups and role plays incorporating aspects of German culture. A recent lesson dealt with the German healthcare system. The students used their German to demonstrate how they would seek medical care, describe their symptoms, and visit a pharmacy. They also wrote an article analyzing and evaluating the differences between the American and German system for the ECU student paper.
Jensen said an advantage of this approach is that the students do not learn vocabulary and grammar as lists and rules but rather practice the language by using it contextually, aurally, visually, and kinesthetically.
During the podcast, Jensen explains the difference between flipped classrooms and flipped learning. She also discusses the work involved in flipping classroom learning and some lessons learned about implementing redesigned courses and getting departmental support.
Jensen is collaborating with Dr. Laura Levi Altstaedter, assistant professor, Hispanic Studies Education at ECU, on research about the efficacy of flipping foreign-language instruction.
To listen to the podcast, click on http://podcasts.flippedlearning.org/askthefln/podcast/episode-008-birgit-jensen/. A case study detailing Jensen’s experience has been posted at https://www.collegestar.org/modules/a-practical-example-of-a-flipped-lesson-in-a-beginning-german-classroom.