Flipped Classroom Field Guide

If you’ve been toying with the idea of flipping – but haven’t yet decided whether or not it’s right for you – this field guide (and associated videos) might help.

Click to download Field Guide pdf
Field Guide

Flipped teaching / learning is one of those ideas that, in principle, should have some mileage for a-level teaching because of the way the course is structured and tested in terms of Assessment Objectives such as:

  • Knowledge and Understanding
  • Application
  • Analysis and evaluation
  • If you’re new to the concept, the basic idea is that in the “traditional classroom” the emphasis tends to be on ensuring students are taught the knowledge they need to complete the course while skills such as application, analysis and evaluation are largely taught outside the classroom: students, for example, will complete homework essays that test these skills and feedback is usually given through written marking and teacher comments.

    The broad argument here therefore is that “traditional” ways of organising teaching and learning mean teachers spend most of their time on an activity (knowledge production) that is generally the easiest skill for students to master and much less of their time on developing skills, such as evaluation, students find much harder to grasp (and which tend to be rewarded more in exams).

    Flipped teaching reverses these practices: knowledge production takes place outside the classroom. Students complete knowledge work (reading, watching filmed lectures and the like) before they come to class. Classroom work then focuses on the skills – analysis, evaluation, application – students find difficult. Teachers spend less of their class time “teaching knowledge” and more of that time – in small groups or one-to-one – teaching and assessing “skills”.

    While this is something of a (necessary) oversimplification as far as a-level teaching goes (for reasons that are probably obvious), the basic ideas underpinning flipped teaching have, I think, a level of initial plausibility that makes exploring the idea worthwhile – and if you want to know more about both the theory and practice of flipped teaching, the Flipped Classroom Field Guide should help.

    Video Guide

    It’s a hugely-detailed document that tells you just about everything you might need to know about flipped teaching over the course of 33 pages dotted with extensive hyperlinks to further reading. While it’s definitely worth a look – as reference material if nothing else – if you want something a little less weighty (by which I mean heavy-going) the Guide contains a series of links to a set of Flipped101 Video Lectures. These vary in length from 5 – 15 minutes and while they’re now looking a little dated in terms of film quality, they generally get their points across:

    1. Introduction (6.00): Why you should consider flipping your classroom.

    2. Getting Started (11.00): Introduction to the basics of the flipped classroom, including first-timer tips and potential pitfalls.

    3. Engaged Learning Activities (15.00) What are they and how to use them.

    4. Collaborative Learning Activities (10.00) Strategies for engaging students in collaborative learning.

    5. Just-in-Time Teaching (4.00) Using class time to target the concepts that students need help with most.

    6. Conclusion (2.00) Review of the major elements of the Flipped Classroom Lectures.

    While both the Guide and the films make extensive reference to Coursera, an online learning platform offering a variety of university degrees, you can safely ignore this for two reasons:

    1. Unless you film them yourself you aren’t going to be able to give your students access to a vast film library of your no-doubt very interesting lectures.

    2.  You can be more creative in the materials you provide for your students for outside classroom learning. You can, for example, mix-up things like getting information from textbooks with short video or audio material.

    Finally, even if you don’t plan to go whole hog and flip your teaching, the guide / videos contain a lot of very useful information and ideas that can be adapted and applied to your personal classroom organisation.

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