the Thought of Flipping Your Classroom Makes You Dizzy,
Tip It Sideways Instead
Dr. Kathie F. Nunley
years ago, educators and education media were enthusiastically
talking about Flipped Classrooms. A flipped or "inverted"
classroom is one in which a teacher takes what was a traditional
classroom of the the last century - one where we all lectured
to students during classtime and then expected that homework
was completed outside of classrime - and flip the whole thing.
behind it makes sense, given the technology that became available
over the past 20 years. In fact teachers felt pressure from
students, parents and the community to utilize technology in
order to make better use of school time. So, the theory was
that In a flipped classroom, lectures could be recorded and
uploaded online. Students would watch these as homework at home
outside the school day. Then the actual class time would be
spent on interaction between students and teachers, doing question
and answers and assignment drills.
while the flipped classroom was discussed in the media, online
PD sessions and trade books, the reality was that out in the
trenches, we were not seeing this happening much. So while many
of us could appreciate the vision and understand the possibility,
the reality was that the thought of flipping our classroom was
logistically quite overwhelming.
several reasons that this vision could not translate well into
objection to the flipped classroom is that having every student
watch a taped lecture at night for class discussion the next
day is one giant step backwards in differentiating for the needs
of our diverse learners.
reality -- Sure, the latest whizmo gadget and fantastic technological
device may excite and tempt us with their novelty and WOW-factor,
but when push comes to shove and work needs to be done, often
times we find that we are more effective and efficient with
some of our tried-and true-standards.
a teacher to do?
that rather than flipping your classroom completely on its head
(which, let's face it, gives us the same lesson, just upside
down), we instead tip it sideways a bit and let things flow
broadly from side to side.
I've been telling teachers that one of the greatest ways to
make better use of your time in the classroom has been to record
your lectures and lessons. But we need to use these taped or
uploaded lessons, not for homework, but as one of the classroom
day assignment options.
us understand, that in this day of technology, a live straight-out
lecture to a room full of students attempting to listen, is
a definite waste of our valuable time, and not doing too much
for many of the students either.
Curriculum® first began, technology in schools and our communities
was not at a point that allowed for taped or online lessons,
so many teachers tried to do mini lectures to small groups as
an optional assignment in class. This was met with limited success.
Anyone who has tried to oversee 20 - 35 learners in one room
knows the logistic problems that come with that. Now that mediated
lessons are easy to make and equipment readily available in
most schools - problem solved.
mediated lessons should not be relegated and mandated as homework
for all. This ignores too many of our students who have different
learning modalities, presents problems for students without
access to technology outside of school, and creates too much
distance between receiving the lesson and student questions
Curriculum® classroom lends itself beautifully to taped or mediated
lectures and lessons. They are included as assignment options,
usually in the C layer. Any and all students who might benefit
from listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration, can
make use of the opportunity. Teacher class time is freed up
to work with students individually. Students are near a teacher
during and directly after a lecture for questions and clarification.
Students can catch the lesson missed from a day of absence,
or just watch it more than once for relearning opportunity or
study. And best of all, the classroom learning environment remains
open and accessible to a wide variety of learners.
F. Nunley is an educational psychologist, author, researcher
and speaker living in southern New Hampshire. Developer of the
Layered Curriculum® method of instruction, Dr. Nunley has
authored several books and articles on teaching in mixed-ability
classrooms and other problems facing today's teachers. Full
references and additional teaching and parental tips are available
at: http://Help4Teachers.com Email her:
Kathie (at) brains.org
detailed information, read the text
"Layered Curriculum" or the new supplement "Enhancing
your Layered Curriculum Classroom".
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