Flipping The Way We Practice
One of the core goals for teachers is ensuring that the time spent in class is maximised for learning, and that it is productive and meaningful for their students. The Flipped Learning pedagogy focuses on an intentional reorganisation of in-class and out of class activities – potentially tripling the time that students spend in a productive learning environment. It gives ownership of learning to the students – they are in charge of their learning outside of class. Formative assessment tasks are also embedded into the program, and as they are generally undertaken during class time, the students’ progress can be continuously monitored.
By “flipping” the instructional model, students are afforded the opportunity to experience learning in an environment that encourages innovation and understanding. Students learn about content outside of class time (“homework”) for information - and unpack this content for understanding with the teacher during class time. Short video style resources are created for students to review new content, learn about concepts and prepare to apply this information in activities. Flipped homework is designed to be meaningful to students, and enables them to come to class ready to learn with and through as they engage in activities in class.
Learning that is centered around the student, not the teacher; learning that allows students to show their mastery of content the way they prefer.
The Flipped Learning model is primarily about reorganising class time and activities, therefore it aligns with a range of other blended instructional methodologies. The model supports the development of independent, differentiated learning – uniting teachers and students in creating a common outcome, helping students to develop individualised learning plans, and set benchmarks and provide structure when required.
Flipped Learning encourages student ownership over the learning process without the teacher having to be the sole source of information. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively with each other, and engage in feedback from their teacher to promote understanding. When students are provided with the key content as “homework” in the flipped model, they have the opportunity to develop skills in time management, to listen, absorb instructions and think things through – exploring and utilising problem solving skills. Instead of having to listen to lectures and take notes during class time, students come to class with notes already constructed; the focus then shifts to knowledge development during class time. Students demonstrate deeper questioning, more complex discussions and in general, are more engaged in classroom activities.
In the Flipped Learning model, teachers and students have high expectations for engagement and expect to focus on meaningful activities during class time. Classes begin with a short summary or review of the key content, which ensures students are ready for class activities, have a “hook” into the lesson and an opportunity to address areas of concern.
The remainder of the class period is devoted to developing activities that immerse students in “unpacking” the content, that is, research-based instructional strategies to enhance understanding. Students should be engaged in content and actively involved in discussions, collaborative activities and individual research. Activities are designed to incorporate peer-to-peer interaction, work based projects, higher order thinking skills, research skills, writing skills, and working through complex problems.
The primary focus of the flipped classroom is to maximise class time - and by doing this, homework should become authentic, purposeful and student-centred. Resources accessed by students during traditional “homework” time (i.e. outside class time), are designed to promote understanding, interest, and promote intrinsic motivation. Students use what would have been homework time to become familiar with content, review key information and to check for continuing understanding.
When students review content through pre-recorded digital resources, they have the ability to re-watch and pause the “lecture” or instructions, enabling them to manage the pace of content delivery. Content that is challenging can be presented in a number of ways, ensuring that all students can develop an understanding of concepts. Online lectures also easily incorporate visual stimuli, representational graphs and video to enhance understanding.
Formative assessments (assessment for learning) are ongoing observations, summaries, reviews and tasks that check for understanding. These activities are part of the learning process, focusing on student practice and response, checking for understanding and guiding development of future instruction. Formative assessments assist the teacher to observe student understanding, progress and knowledge acquisition. In the Flipped Learning model, formative assessment activities are embedded into all teaching and learning programs to continuously measure student competency. Most of these tasks are completed during class time, which enables immediate feedback, assistance and continued guidance as required. Informal techniques for assessment, such as discussion and questioning, coupled with more formal pre-assessment tests to ascertain student knowledge at the beginning of a topic, support measurement of learning in the differentiated, Flipped Learning classroom.
By adopting the Flipped Learning approach, teachers are able to maximise time spent developing knowledge with their students in class. This makes the time spent with the teacher truly meaningful, as rather than using this time to lecture at students, teachers become more like tutors, enabling maximised learning during class. With students being able to set their own pace of learning outside of class, no one is left behind, and they come to class ready to discuss the topics they have been exploring. Formative assessment tasks can then be completed during class time, instead of as homework, with teachers able to continuously monitor students’ progress. With potentially three times the amount of productive learning time in the classroom, Flipped Learning is the best way to ensure that students get the results they deserve.