I have been interested in “alternative learning models” for as long as I can remember, certainly for as long as I have been teaching and I began in 1989 !!! Never being a very strong believer in “chalk and talk” methods, I have always been looking for ways to make the pupils active, at the heart of the action and I feel great satisfaction in those moments when you realize that the pupils are teaching the teacher.
The Flipped Classroom model brings all of that together, to my mind. Technology now allows us to give pupils access to informative, active learning in their own, out-of-school space and then, in class-time, we are freed to do more active, interesting and collaborative work. Having watched my son go through much of his lycée learning experience, taking notes in class, dictation even, and being required to give very little student participation other than Teacher asks a question and Pupil answers, I am convinced that this is not the way forward. We need to give students more challenging activity to do when they are with us in the classroom. Taking notes and dictation, they don’t need us for that. Watching us on film at home, highlighting the essential points so they come to class with their notes made, ready to discuss what they learned, THAT is important.
Much is being written on the net about Flipped Classrooms and it is still considered, in France at least, as something new and out of the ordinary. My own experience is limited so far to one or two films, prepared for the students in Terminale at the end of the school year 2012-2013. However the feedback was positive, highly positive even.
Example1 : Correcting the mock written exam
As I went through the papers of the students, marking them during the Easter holidays, I realized that the errors were essentially the same and were based around a problem of answering techniques. I knew this was in major part due to me not having had the time thus far to teach the the basic technique for answering a Baccalaureate-style comprehension question. So I prepared a film in which I explained in 5 simple pointers how to rectify these problems in their exam technique. I gave the pupils a week in which to watch the film and then on the appointed day, I gave them an exercise to do which involved applying these techniques.
We evaluated their answers together within classtime, so they got immediate feedback and I told them that there was going to be an actual test the next day. This meant they had time to go back to the film and revise parts that hadn’t been understood completely. The final test was a runaway success for those who had done the work. To those who thought they could “wing it”, it was not.
To me, I would say it was a successful experiment. The whole process took a week but in terms of classtime, it took 2 hours. I strongly feel I gained at least 2 hours of classtime by proceeding in this way but more importantly, I got much better results from the students than if I had “given them a lecture” on how to answer Bac questions.
Matt Britland has blogged on flipping a classroom here
I am a bit of a Bloom’s fan, as some of you may already know and here is a diagram of how the Flipped Classroom relates to Bloom’s Taxonomy :
Interesting film in French on flipping here.
A video recording of a webinar on Flipped Classrooms –