If you are using problem or project based learning or engage your students in a lot of hands-on activities, you will not find the "flipped classroom" as a radical innovation. I can't remember the last time I saw a teacher actually deliver an all out lecture in an elementary classroom. According to Jonathan Martin's February 13, 2011 post on 21K12 blog "For those educators who never use, nor feel the need to use, classroom time for lecturing, reversing learning probably has little significance; hence, extremely progressive educators and practicioners of pure PBL may find this innovation a bit passe."
|From: User Generated Education blog|
John R. Sowash, on The Electric Educator Blog, explains how he had been using "reverse instruction" or "flipped classroom" for his anatomy and physiology class. As he notes, he does a lot of lectures in this course so this shift in pedagogy made sense for how he currently teaches his class. While he is pleased with his new pedagogy, is that the model of education we really want in the 21st century? He has recorded the lectures for viewing at home and now kids do the "homework" in class with his help. While this might be an improvement to classic traditional instruction, is this really where we want to get to? How about revising the course more to include some problem based learning? He does do a great job of sharing tips and tricks for making the "flipped classroom" work. Again, this is a secondary class that typically used a lot of lectures as the main mode of instruction. Check out his You Tube video on skin and body membranes.
By using this model, John has figured out a way to save the precious class time for guiding his students. I do think this is an improvement over traditional instruction, but I would really like to see this morphed into the model Jackie has explained. By using the "flipped classroom" for delivering content and reflecting on learning, class time can be freed up for doing problem based learning.
While I know I have more to learn about this model of teaching, I do think it may work in a modified way in elementary. For example, I know that when I preteach the math lesson to my special education students for 10 minutes just prior to math class, they are better able to learn during the math instruction in the classroom. While the math class is mostly hands on work including team work, manipulatives, and figuring things out together, there are vocabulary words and prerequisite skills that help students prepare for the lesson. I plan to experiment with using a modified "flipped classroom" model where the students watch the prelesson skills in a video either just prior to class or at home the night before. If that works, it would be great to have the students watch the videos at home the night before. It would allow me to keep them in their regular classroom for those 10 minutes OR it would allow me to use those 10 minutes to catch them up on other math skills that they are lacking.
When we plan our problem based learning unit for this year, I want to see if there are places within the unit where we could use the "flipped classroom" concept for some direct teaching and student reflections. This would free up class time for students to work in groups on their solution.
I would love to hear from other elementary teachers who are attempting a "flipped classroom" model. Please share what you are using this strategy for and how it is working for you.