As teachers we are constantly thrown new things for our brains to catch. Some things are great but not practical, some are practical but not that great and when we are lucky, some are caught. A couple of years ago a strategy called Flipped Learning was thrown towards me and since then it has become a major part of my teaching. Over the past few years it has also grown as a movement with a community of educators sharing their fantastic ideas. Recently I have spent some time thinking about why I caught Flipped Learning and decided not to let go.
When I started my exploration into Flipped Learning it asked me to reflect on an area of my teaching that I had never considered which was the structure of my lesson. There was nothing wrong with what I was doing but my new found knowledge compelled me to question and change. At its most basic level, Flipped Learning is using video to deliver content to children before the lesson instead of lecturing them at the beginning. But what would this mean for my introduction? Researching further threw up even more questions about what I was doing. How much time did I spend lecturing to the children? Do introductions even engage all of the children? Does every child even need to spend 15-20 minutes listening to me talk? Before Flipped Learning had even entered my classroom it had asked questions of me that I hadn’t asked for a while or maybe ever and as I dug deeper I realised that it wasn’t even about the videos. Flipped Learning is about what happens in your classroom because of the videos.
Flipped Learning has helped me to improve the experiences for the children in my class in 3 main ways. My classroom is now more active, activities are more tailored and the children have more options.
Primary classrooms are already active environments, but using Flipped Learning has allowed me to take this further. Beforehand, the children would have listened to the delivery of content for the first part of the lesson but now they arrive having already accessed it. This means that the beginning of their lesson is 5-10 minutes checking to see if the content has been understood instead of 15-20 minutes listening to me. The time spent listening is immediately cut down so that children can actively apply their knowledge through group or independent work.
However it would be unrealistic to expect 100% of the children to watch and understand the video straight away every time. During those first few minutes you are also finding out which children have questions and misconceptions. Working in a smaller group gives you the chance to focus on exactly what the children need in order to understand the concept. Flipped Learning allows you to tailor your conversation time with groups and individuals either to help them gain understanding or to move them forward.
Finally, the use of videos provides the children in your class with more options. As the content is available to them via a device it means that they can recap content independently as well as asking a friend or adult.
Along with the advantages in class, using Flipped Learning has also increased understanding for parents. So often parents find out about what their children have already learned. Flipped Learning gives parents the opportunity to find out what their children will be learning and how they will be learning it.
Finding out about Flipped Learning has helped me to think about the way I engage the children in my class and encouraged me to reflect on my teaching more than any other strategy I have come across. It has transformed the way I think about my teaching.
If you want to find out more about Flipped Learning, please don’t hesitate to contact me or you can visit http://flglobal.org/ to join the community.