The Flipped Classroom Pedagogy that my learning partner, Lani, and I have been researching offers an entirely different perspective that integrates ever-changing technology and an opportunity to push the boundaries of teacher/student communication and peer interactions.
The Instructor’s Role
From Lani’s resources, we learned that in the flipped classroom model, the instructor moves from “the sage on the stage” to “the guide on the side” (Ropchan and Stutt, 2013, p. 2). Rather than acting as a one-person show who displays a great wealth of knowledge to the students, the instructor now supports learning and facilitates group and peer collaborations.
During our Skype conversation, Lani made an observation that has stuck with me. She feels that an instructor in the flipped classroom relinquishes control of the path, but gets to the goal in the end. This view is supported by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams (2012). Their experiences with flipped learning have introduced them to a world of teachers who become "learning coaches" as students form their own groups to collaboratively come to conclusions and learn from each other.
Outside of the classroom, the tasks of the instructor change greatly in the flipped learning environment. It is necessary for teachers to ensure that all students have access to the information online by sourcing available internet locations for those who do not have computers, cell phones, etc. They need to set deadlines, track progress and potentially create mini lectures after identifying key points of issue among students.
Beyond that responsibility, as attested by Jen Ebbeler (2013), lesson plans must offer quality, meaningful in-class projects, discussions and peer-based learning. This is imperative in engaging students, enabling them to learn from each other and from the instructor by completing hands-on activities during class time.
The Student’s Role
In her blog, Teaching Without Pants, Jen Ebbeler talks about her experiences in introducing the flipped classroom. In her fall cohort, she spent a couple of days explaining the process and the expectations of this new teaching model. She thought that she could convince her students to “buy into” this new concept. As she learned, a much gentler approach was necessary to make the program a success. She had to carefully and quietly lead the students into their new role.
The flipped classroom requires students to engage in peer-to-peer discussions of lesson topics. The student has to watch or listen to the necessary online podcast outside of class time. The theory is that they return to class with meaningful questions and be ready to engage in activities that help them assimilate what they have learned.
This model requires students to be self-motivated in listening to or watching the lessons online. John Bergmann (2012), a pioneer in the current flipped classroom trend, states that, “…the key is for students to identify learning as their goal, instead of striving for the completion of assignments” (para. 10).
Ash, K. (2012, November 27). Educators Evaluate 'Flipped Classrooms'. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/08/29/02el-flipped.h32.html.
Ebbeler, Jen. (2013). Adventures in Blended Learning. Retrieved from http://teachingwithoutpants.blogspot.ca/.
Ropchan, K. and Stutt, G. (2013). Flipped classroom. Retrieved from http://etec.ctlt.ubc.ca/510wiki/Flipped_Classroom.