It is beyond any doubt that the globalisation has deeply changed how we see the world, how we interrelate with each other and, more specifically, the nature and typology of our daily problems. The adults of today were brought up and educated by family, teachers and governmental agents starting from the society they knew and in keeping with the teaching-learning principles that had remained almost unchanged since the Industrial Revolution, back in the 19th century, when students were taught how to become good workers, frequently the more cultural and artistic disciplines be untouched and irrespective of the students’ different abilities and capabilities, which were no pressing at all. Under the prior considerations, it is unquestionable that some changes are to be put forward regarding the traditional methodology in order to better cater to our students’ present and future demands: we need to change how our students approach to learning and this inexorably affects our teaching practice.
Among the wide array of methodologies which may be implemented, three are to be put forward for they have gained special relevance lately and they are even fostered by the Order 3rd June 2016, by which the Ministry of Education of the Region of Murcia put forward a set of instructions and regulations for the teaching of a Foreign Language in this Autonomous Community, to wit: Flipped Classroom, Gamification and Cooperative Learning.
According to Anderson and Krathwohl (2001), the students in a flipped classroom do the lower levels of cognitive work, that is gaining knowledge and comprehension, outside of class usually via reading or specific audiovisual material to focus afterwards on the higher ways of cognitive work, to be precise, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation, in class to which end they have the support of their classmates and the teacher to carry out problem-solving, discussion or debates, to name but a few activities. Thus, due to the contrast from the traditional model the term was named after ‘flipped classroom’. Additionally, this idea has taken root because scholars ascertain that it better responds to the learning needs and interests of students in today’s ever-connected world. Even more, in the Foreign Language class the flipped classroom may be particularly useful in the case of project research, where our students may be given the additional possibility to present and share the research work done with all the class.
Regarding Gamification, the Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it as ‘the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (such as a task) so as to encourage participation’. Thus, Shea (2014) applied the term to the learning process as a way to ‘take the boredom out of long training session’. Therefore, the learning of a foreign language may become an interactive game that allows students to win awards and to be acknowledged and to reach the contents and competences devised in the binding legislation, e.g. students are given points for the appropriate implementation of the taught knowledge and skills in the execution of activities along the term and the students may exchange the obtained points for miles to travel around the world. Who may travel the furthest?
Finally, the importance of Cooperative Learning is common to the latest teaching trends, including the ones mentioned above. Why is this so? Because, as put forward by Johnson & Johnson (2009) ‘without the cooperation of its members society cannot survive, and the society of man has survived because the cooperativeness of its members made survival possible. Hence, cooperative work enriches the learning process and the maximises the use of small groups and what students can learn through their interaction with their classmates, specifically fostering the Learning to Learn and the Sense of Initiative and Entrepreneurship Competences, but without putting the other competences aside and to this end working with different collaborative groupings is to be highlighted.
- Spanish Ministry of Education, Royal Decree 1105/2014, 26th December, asserting the basic National Curriculum.
- Ministry of Education of the Region of Murcia, Decree 220/2015, 2nd September, ascertaining the Curriculum for the autonomous region.
- Ministry of Education of the Region of Murcia, Order 3rd June 2016 about the teaching of Foreign Languages.
- Johnson, D.W. & Johnson, F. (2009). Joining together: Group theory and group skills (10th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
- Johnson, D.W. & Johnson, R. (1999). Learning together and alone: Cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning (5th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
- ANDERSON, L.W. & KRATHWOHL, D (2001). A Taxonomy of Learning, Teaching and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Longman.
- SHEA, T. (2014) Gamification: Using Gaming Technology for Achieving Goals. Rosen.
María José Moreno Martín