Flipping the students
Who does not want an easy life, the path of least resistance. Passive lecture style lessons provides that opportunity. A flipped classroom situation demands student involvement to succeed. Yet to actually succeed in a lecture style requires student involvement as well. The flipped classroom is designed to be more student centered and for (potentially many) different learning paths to be found that reflect the learning styles of those students.
These are the internal arguments that I have been having and I recognise that the success of a truly student centered classroom lies with the motivation of the students. So this has to be a key consideration. I am in a good place though, I know most of the class from previous teaching experience and the ones I have not taught before are new to the school. So I open with absolute honesty and in my first lesson I explain the concepts of the flipped classroom. I even show them the Sal Khan video “How video can reinvent education“. To get the class reflecting on their own preferred learning styles I use the great “How do you learn?” website.
The first actual Physics concept which my standard level Physics class is uncertainty. A topic which undoubtedly resonates with my own worries. I have identified a number of choice tools to consolidate their understanding and simultaneously experience the essence of the flipped classroom. Whilst in class it is all hands on where we consolidate with an activity calculating density. This works my one note to self is that I have to be really careful about the use of consistent terminology in videos.
As we move forward I introduce my expectation that there is a need for evidence that you have indeed attended the flipped class outside of mine. I ask to see notes relating to the key points which have been covered. I explain that my intention is to promote the transfer of knowledge to consolidate understanding and this is also the evidence which will inform my own mark book. The need for them to enter my classroom prepared to face questioning and discussion of misconceptions on what they should have covered outside the classroom.
The next couple of lessons seem to go well – all of the class having reviewed the content – although in reality much of this is a review of knowledge covered previously. Then comes two lessons one day after the next and about 30 seconds into my starting knowledge review questions and it is clear that most of the class have not been able to manage their time effectively enough to be ready for this lesson. For those that have I set up a table and support them through some consolidation questions. For those that have not done anything I have a quick word and then shift their lesson task to a practical which was already in place – this is the joy of many paths, there is always something constructive to do.