Initially it did not dawn on me, but this past Tuesday (10/4) I actually delivered content to my class in lecture format (direct instruction) for the first time this year. I had gone over a month without using direct instruction to deliver content to my students. How did I manage to go so long without lecturing? I use a flipped classroom model for instruction and must say that I would never go back to a “traditional” model.
For those not familiar with the flipped classroom model, I would encourage you to read this piece by Aaron Sams (@chemicalsams) who is one of the model’s pioneers. Another good description of the flipped classroom by Bill Tucker can be found here.
There is a whole world of teachers out there using versions of a flipped classroom that I have learned from, collaborated with and continue to engage with on a regular basis. If you are a Twitter user, I encourage you to follow the hashtag #flipclass for a lively discussion of the flipped classroom model.
I have been using a flipped classroom model for over a year now and can offer the following observations about how it has impacted the classroom, my students and the learning that goes on in my classroom:
- Class time is way more interactive and student centered than it ever used to be in my classroom. The students are not being exposed to new content in class, rather they are wrestling with the application of new material and benefitting from significantly more collaboration with each other.
- I have a much better understanding of how students are approaching higher order tasks since they are engaged in more of them in class where I can ask questions about their thought processes and uncover misconceptions. In the past, the students were doing much of this intellectual “heavy lifting” at home on their own so I could not observe them and help guide them if need be.
- The students have reported that they like being in control of the pace of delivery of the “content” of the course. We use video lectures (LCMicrobiology on YouTube) for content delivery so the students can pause and rewind the videos as often as they need before moving on. Each student is different in his/her ability to integrate new information so the videos allow them to control the pace.
- The students show up in class more ready to “work” since they know that they will not be able to just sit back passively and listen to me deliver a lesson. Far fewer students show up to class unprepared once they realize how much more valuable class time is for their learning.
- I am able to engage with each and every one of the students far more frequently during class time since I am not stranded at the front of the room lecturing.