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Freakonomics » The Way We Teach Math, Sciences, and Languages Is Wrong

November 15, 2011

This is how I try to teach languages. But i find it’s difficult and am going to flip my teaching this next semester.

Our old pals, Steven Dubner and Stephen Leavitt, authors of Freakonomics, in their usual iconoclastic irreverence, posit that The Way We Teach Math, Sciences, and Languages Is Wrong. Their argument is that we need to teach language as we’ve learned our own native language. Hardly revolutionary, as proponents of the Natural Method or the Direct Method have been advocating this for over a hundred years. This is how I learned Spanish: Sra. Taylor talking, repeating, and eliciting answers without one word of English. From anyone (well, except for what we whispered behind our hands).

I’m going to try to have a Spanish-only classroom by supplementing the classroom time with extensive web-based instruction. Will I be successful? We will see…. But if I am, I think my students will a) learn better and b) be more comfortable speaking in a situation where Spanish is useful. Wins for all of us.

Here’s a handy graphic of the Flipped Classroom, from MindShift.
Flipped Classroom Diagram

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