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April 2024 - Year 26 - Issue 2

ISSN 1755-9715

Implementing Flipped Classroom to Improve Air Traffic Controllers’ (ATCOs) English Language Competence

Dora Mirta Troitiño Díaz is a teacher of ESP at the Training Center for Air Navigation of Cuba. Her Phd studies were related to the in company training for ESP so she is interested in topics related to training for teaching English on the job, and how to teach English online, specifically English for Specific Purposes. She has written articles related to Moodle and the teaching of English as well as professional improvement in the postgraduate education. I am starting in the aviation world. I enjoy teaching ATCOs and prepare them for their daily work at the Control Tower or Control Center. 




Technology has become an indispensable part of educational scenarios worldwide. This has significantly altered the way students learn and teachers teach. [1] However, technology has not escaped the resistance of skeptics who advocate the traditional classroom as the infallible method for effective learning. An educational battle has occurred in many institutions where several generations of teachers are integrated defending their teaching methods at all costs. The teacher will never be replaced by one of these machines – many vehemently affirm – and it is not about substitution, but about finding new ways to achieve a quality teaching-learning process (PEA) that is not interrupted. Since 2019, the SARVS-COV 2 pandemic has hit the global education system very hard, and has kept students away from traditional classrooms. This pressure forces teachers to reevaluate teaching styles and methods. Education is the most powerful weapon that exists; it cannot be stopped, because it would be stopping the evolution of the human being. [2] English teachers have similarly found technology to be a powerful tool full of opportunities. Due to these, English teachers have been integrating technology into classes more and more. [3] With their use, the objective is to create new experiences that are enriched in knowledge, motivating and engaging students even more. Video is one of the technological media that has shown great effectiveness, if used appropriately. Video lectures, which are very different from showing a video of a selected topic in class, are not a new concept; however, the technology used to produce, edit and distribute them is much more affordable for teachers. In this context, the flipped classroom can improve learning experiences and capture the attention of students at different levels. One of the methods to incorporate technology such as videos is the flipped classroom, which provides an innovative vision to traditional conferences. This article aims to present the experience of teaching English for specific purposes at the Cuban Air Navigation Training Center (CCNAC) through the use of technologies and the flipped classroom.


Flipped classroom

The flipped classroom can be described as the setting where what is traditionally done in the classroom is done at home, and what is traditionally done as homework is completed in the classroom. [4] In other words, the usual sequence is reversed. The flipped classroom is considered a novel active methodology that is currently a trend.  There is a still deeply rooted vision of educational processes, ʺIn the class the lesson is taught and at home the homework is done.ʺ [5]

However, the inverted classroom is more than an investment in the teaching learning process; what is inverted is the place where the most representative tasks in the training process are carried out: the lesson and the tasks or assignments as oriented in higher education. The idea of ​​this inversion of place is based on taking advantage of the spatial and temporal coincidence of students and teachers to work in a more active, participatory and cooperative way [6]. For this reason, the Flipped Classroom method is part of active methodologies [7].


How did the Flipped Classroom come about?

Its introduction is attributed to Lage, Platt and Treglia who called it the “Inverted Classroom” method [8]. At the same time, Baker applied the same concept and called it “Classroom Flip”[9]. In 2007, through Bergmann and Sans, the method was promoted and was called “Flippled Classroom”[10], which is the term that has the most references compared to other terms such as flip teaching, inverted classroom and inverted classroom (using Google trends).


The flipped classroom in Education

It is necessary, then, to start from the recognition of the characteristics of the context in which Cuban education is developed in terms of ICT integration:

 Little use of the flexibility of the current study plans, fundamentally due to the poor institutional culture that exists in this regard.

 In the teaching-learning process, traditional didactics prevails, using methods, means and organizational forms that do not favor the active role of students in their training process.

 The development of technologies continues to revolutionize the spheres of information and communications at a dizzying pace for most countries, including Cuba, which requires making enormous efforts to maintain at least a level that favors progress.

The computerization of Cuban society is an aspect that is causing transformations in all sectors of society, particularly in education. 

Cuban education has led to the introduction of information and communications technologies as an innovative element in the teaching-learning process and also stimulates the generation of new functions that constitute added value to the resources that teachers have at their disposal. However, limitations still persist, in terms of the design of the subjects, the topics, the structure of the contents, definition of teaching tasks, use of virtual scenarios; depending, on the one hand, on the support, connectivity, accessibility, usability and on the other, no less important, on the study modality (face-to-face education, distance education or blended education). [11] 

As previously stated, this article addresses the use of the inverted classroom as a flexible learning model for teaching English for Specific Purposes and its application with the use of technological means, in the Training Center for Air Navigation of Cuba. 


The flipped classroom in teaching English

Currently, new educational paradigms have created the need to promote the active and collaborative participation of students during the development of communication and reasoning skills. [12] Without a doubt, the appearance of these needs has caused that during the teaching-learning process; methodologies must be transformed or permanently adjusted to new challenges and requirements. [13] In this context, the flipped classroom emerges as an alternative method that focuses mainly on a variety of learning activities that can take place beyond traditional methodologies.  

According to Zainuddin and Hailili, the flipped classroom model is the opposite of traditional learning as it enhances classroom collaboration such that students construct their own knowledge through effective interaction with limited guidance from the teacher. Similarly, Collazos and Mendoza state that in the flipped classroom model, the traditional class is transformed to give way to activities that promote learning in collaborative environments. [14, 15] 

In the context of language teaching, Fresen points out that the flipped classroom methodology constitutes an appropriate instructional design for teaching English mainly because it aligns with modern ideas of student-centered active learning. For this reason, teachers who teach English as a foreign language (EFL) must consider the great potential that the flipped classroom has to improve students' communication skills, in such a way that the possibilities of success at the level academic are older.  

The preparation of air traffic controllers is carried out through a 30-hour program that enhances their autonomy and independence. The training is carried out in a language laboratory that allows them to continue developing the listening comprehension and oral expression skills that are so important in their daily work in their communication with the pilot.

Simulated activities are carried out where the teacher is the pilot and they are in their role as air traffic controllers. Instructions, case studies, and emergency situations are assigned to promote the controllers study independently and bring the next day to discuss with the teacher and their classroom colleagues. In this way, the controller takes responsibility for his own progress and is able to motivate himself/herself during the process. He/She is an active subject and protagonist of his/her learning. The teacher accompanies and supports this process. The mornings are dedicated to student debate and guidance and in the afternoons a series of digital materials are used for self-study that are provided to students for their individual study. These materials include real aviation cases; videos that help controllers come more prepared to the next laboratory session. Also, multimedia is used to enhance the learning process and go deeper into topics that are relevant to their work.



The application of the flipped classroom is very feasible in teaching English to air traffic controllers. It promotes independence in them and facilitates their learning by not interfering with their work schedule. However, the school is already thinking about implementing a digital platform where these different materials can be made available to facilitate their study, giving ATCOs flexible schedules. We are also working on creating forums that allow the attention of the ATCO at different times and not only during the hours of face-to-face work in the lingo-phonic laboratory. All the aforementioned reinforces the learning acquired in the classroom.



[1] Wells, P., de Lange, P. A., & Fieger, P. (2018). Integrating a virtual learning environment into a second-year accounting course: determinants of overall student perception.Accounting & Finance, 48(3), 503-518. 

[2] Seljan, S., Banek M., Špiranec, S., & Lasić-Lazić, J. (2016). CALL (computer-assisted language learning) and distance learning. In P. Biljanović & K. Skala (Eds.), MIPRO 2006:29th International Convention ((pp. 145–150). Opatija Croatia: Proceedings.

[3] Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2012). Flip your classroom: Reach every student in every class every day. Eugene, OR: ISTE.

[4] Fresen, J. (2007). A taxonomy of factors to promote quality web-supported learning. International Journal on E-Learning, 6(1), 8194.

[5] Lage, M. J., Platt, G. J., y Treglia, M. (2000). Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment. The Journal of Economic Education, 31(1), 30-43.

[6] Mestre, J. P. (2001). Implications of research on learning for the education of prospective science and physics teachers. Physics Education, 36(1), 44. doi:

[7] Gaete, R. A. (2011). El juego de roles como estrategia de evaluación de aprendizajes universitarios. Educación y educadores, 14(2), 289-307. Recuperado el 04 de noviembre

de 2016 desde

[8] Hachmann, R., y Holmboe, P. (2014). Flipped Learning Flipped Learning–mere end bare video, Praxis.

[9] Zainuddin, Z., y Halili, S. (2016). Flipped classroom research and trends from different fields of study. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(3).

[10] Collazos, C. A., y Mendoza, J. (2006). Cómo aprovechar el aprendizaje colaborativo en el aula. Educación y educadores, 9(2), 61-76. Recuperado el 17 de diciembre de 2016 desde

[11] Tucker, B. (2012). The flipped classroom. EducationNext, 12(1), 82–83. Retrieved from

[12] Basal, A. (2018). The implementation of a Flipped Classroom in foreign language teaching. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, Vol. 16 No. 4. Recuperado de:

[13] Teng M., (2018) Flip Your Classroom to Improve EFL Students’ Speaking Skills. In: Mehring J., Leis A. (eds) Innovations in Flipping the Language Classroom. Springer, Singapore.

[14] Iyitoglu, O. y Erisen, Y. (2018). Delving into Flipping EFL Classroom: A mixed method study. European Journal of English Language Teaching, Vol. 3. Issue 1. doi:10.5281/zenodo.1045310. Recuperado de:

[15] Strayer, J. (2007). The effects of the classroom flip on the learning environment: A comparison of learning activity in a traditional classroom and a flip classroom that used an intelligent tutoring system. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from


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