The flipped classroom is my ideal learning environment as this approach fits the adult education’s values of active learner engagement and self-direction, (Merriam & Bierema, 2014). It appeals to me because I prefer to go into a class with the underpinnings of the content having already been considered. I need time to process material and the pre-work concept using technology offers the independent time to consider the material and allows me to create thoughts, opinions, and identify what isn’t clear for myself before being in a room of quick thinkers who rapidly share their thoughts before I have even grasped the content. (Yes, some introversion qualities have been exposed!)
The classroom time is then more interactive and spent actively learning using techniques that are either group or individual format. I thrive on this variety as you never know what activity lies ahead and much prefer it to the former lecture style of teaching that is frequently a repeat of assigned pre-work and causes me to tune out. The added benefit with this type of classroom is the teacher has an enhanced opportunity for one-on-one interaction acting as a facilitator guiding further exploration of the learning by asking questions, pushing the learning a little deeper and helping students apply critical thinking skills and self-reflection, (Webley, 2012).
As an educator, while this is my ideal learning situation, I am sure it isn’t for everyone. Many students prefer the lecture format as a means to avoid collaboration in group work, others may not be discipline enough to engage in the pre-work and therefore hold the class activity time back as a result, and others may prefer the lecture format as a means of learning. I would like to try the flipped classroom on occasion and on a small scale (keeping it simple), see how it is received and use student evaluation/feedback and assessment of whether learning outcomes were met to determine how to proceed.
The Flipped Learning Network has identified the following 4 ‘pillars’ that educators need to establish in order to successfully create a flipped classroom.
- Flexible environment — creating flexible spaces in which students choose when and where they learn.
- Learning Culture – deliberate shift of instruction to a learner-centered approach where in-class time is dedicated to exploring topics in greater detail resulting in active participation in knowledge construction as they engage and evaluate their learning in a personally meaningful manner.
- Intentional Content – intentional identification of what needs to be taught and what materials student should explore on their own. This will maximize classroom time in order to adopt methods of student-centered active learning strategies.
- Professional Educator – is the essential ingredient that enables flipped learning to occur and as such must be reflective in their practice, connect with each other to improve their instruction, accept constructive criticism, and tolerate controlled chaos in the classroom.
Merriam, S. & Bierema, L. (2014). Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice. San Francisco, California, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Webly, K. (July9, 2012). Reboot the school. Time (pp.36-41).