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  • Writer's pictureNicky

Flip your classroom

It’s nearly Shrove Tuesday, Pancake day, so instead of flipping pancakes, let’s look at flipping learning.

Traditional teaching method

Traditionally teachers introduce their students to new concepts, theories and skills in the classroom. Pupils often spend sections of the lesson as passive learners; the odd activity recaps what they have learnt and breaks up the monotony to keep engagement levels high. True continuous engagement can be next to impossible to sustain for a full hour and many pupils will drift off missing salient points when taught in this manner.

The students are then expected to go home and practise these new skills entirely on their own or answer questions to prove their memory retention.

The problem with this method is students can often find themselves stuck and not really understanding the topics, so when they are expected to work without any help, they either cannot complete the tasks or become frustrated. Often pupils will navigate their way to a mediocre solution, but many fail to grasp a deep understanding of the topic and make no further links within the subject matter only using this homework to recap the main points without expanding or exploring it further. Flipped learning changes this.

Flipped learning method

With flipped learning, pupils are expected to prepare for the lesson BEFORE they enter the classroom. They have access to the lecture notes, reading material, PowerPoint presentations or videos to introduce them to the subject material so when they arrive in the classroom the teacher can use the short time they have together to engage with their students. This enables the pupils to work through the problems WHILE THE TEACHER IS PRESENT, who can clear up any misconceptions and answer questions as they arise. The teacher can help the pupils to gain a much fuller understanding of the subject matter and push them further to explore deeper thinking and discuss new ideas with the whole class.

How can I flip my classroom?

If you have never tried flipped learning, it can be difficult to envision how you will find the time to create everything so your pupils can be fully prepared, but the answer is simple - you don’t have to create everything yourself. Thankfully we live in a world which is information rich; never has there been so much information available at our fingertips so why not use it? There are some excellent videos available on YouTube or you may even want to have a go at making some yourself.

I have started to create a library of short videos that teach pupils specific key skills that have been uploaded to my YouTube channel and it is well worth subscribing so you are notified when I upload new content.

You can also direct students towards lecture notes and revision guides or upload your own PowerPoint presentations through a VLE. There are so many information streams you can use but it is important you give your students plenty of time to view the content before the lesson.

When your students arrive in your classroom, give them a problem or question to start working on immediately. Use that as a stepping stone to jump between the points you need them to understand, helping them gain a much deeper understanding than is possible with traditional teaching.

Where do I start?

Want to give it a go but are worried about how to start? This excellent video by Jon Bergmann shows you how to overcome common hurdles and inspire you to get started.



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