The Flipped Classroom is not a new idea; however, it is new for me. As a High School ELA teacher, and not a lecturer by nature, this format seemed challenging before I began to read about how other teachers are using it. My goal in considering and planning flipped classroom units is to, according to Southern Methodist University’s tech tool page, “move [my students towards] higher level of understanding [by moving] the lecture out of the classroom and use in-person time for interactions that require applying, synthesizing, and creating.” In my ideal classroom I would love to put the effort into more one-on-one time with my students regarding skills that will help them succeed in writing and critical thinking.
Addressing ISTE Standard for Educators 6 (Facilitator: Educators facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement of the ISTE Standards for Students) is a double-edged sword. In a world where everything can be found with a few words in a search engine, critical thinking, and the ability to write coherently is incredibly important. Giving students the ability to use the technology that they have grown up with can help and hinder learning. Students are used to using their technology for entertainment; yet this same tool can be extremely useful in interacting with either my given instructions or the assigned activities.
Using a flipped classroom model will not take the place of face-to-face interactions with students, it will accentuate it as the interactions will be more directed towards feedback and not lecture day in and day out. The flipped classroom gives students more direct instruction when extra help is needed (Bergmann & Sams, 2012). By allowing my students access to taped introductions to literature, units, culture and context, and authorial information that they view on their own, in class becomes a time to teach how to read comprehensively, studying the vocabulary, and discussing the author’s writing choices so that the student’s analysis can reach a depth of understanding that is so much more than plot summary.
While I understand that I may be adding “screen time” to my students’ days, the flipped classroom model does not add to a students’ lack of engagement. Coming to class already prepared with the preemptive knowledge of the text gives both the student and I the freedom to work together to increase our understanding of the complexities of the literature and then learn how to communicate our understanding in academic writing activities. All of this can be at the student’s pace, using tools the student has experience with, and they can work independently if necessary. The stress of feeling behind or not understanding is not eliminated; however, it is lessened because I am able to work individually – or with small groups – who need extra time or direction while the rest of the class is working and not waiting.
When I review my previous plans, especially this past year during the world pandemic, I have slowly been integrating aspects of the blended classroom as I have students read/listen to the text outside of the classroom – as with many high school ELA classrooms – and we explore the text during the class period. I’m not sure if this will change much at the beginning of next year; however, I am considering the good advice from Kruse’s 2020 blog. In this blog, the writer encourages me to consider my purpose, bear in mind technology and its availability, knowing what to do with the freed-up class time, expect bumps along the road (Why We Should Teach Students How to Read Visual Texts | The Reading and Writing Haven, 2020).
Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2012). Flip your classroom: reach every student in every class every day. International Society for Technology in Education.
Why We Should Teach Students How to Read Visual Texts | The Reading and Writing Haven. (2020, June 27). Thinking of Flipping Your ELA Class? Here’s Some Advice. Reading and Writing Haven. https://www.readingandwritinghaven.com/thinking-of-flipping-an-ela-class-heres-some-advice/.