Blended-learning and flipped classroom for one-to-one teaching

By Laura Capitani, Maastricht University and Marián Arribas-Tomé, University of East Anglia

Blended-learning and flipped classroom is the approach that Laura Capitani has used at The Language Centre of Maastricht University in The Netherlands to teach Italian in a one-to-one context.

The technologies supporting the teaching are Google Classroom, Skype, Quizlet and the learning tool Babbel.

The course's structure comprises three stages. In the first one, depending on the level, students access relevant content either via Babbel for levels A1 and A2, or the course manual for levels B1 and B2.

The advantage of using Babbel is that it is a ready-made resource that covers a good range of learning objectives including grammar, vocabulary and cultural-related content at the level required.

Once the students have been working autonomously and have achieved some understanding of key concepts, they move to the second stage of the learning process. This focuses on consolidation and requires new material, which is designed based on the content seen in stage one. The tool used at this point is Quizlet, which facilitates practice, complemented by task-based assignments. Other information sources available on the internet, like newspaper articles, interviews and videos are also used to design this stage of training.

Finally, on stage three, the students are well-prepared to engage in an intensive 30-minute Skype session with the language tutor. This provides opportunities for direct feedback on the student's oral performance and on their homework. The students have the possibility to record the Skype session.

The course is designed taking the specific needs of the student into account, and it can focus flexibly on specific areas. 

The student can be awarded three credits for their study programme at the end of the course if the student passes an oral and written test.

What the students value most in their feedback is the flexibility and the tailor-made approach of this course.


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