Learning, Innovation & Tech

Bombs & Breakthroughs

Teachers "Doing The Flip" To Help Students Become Learners

CJ Westerberg, May 13, 2011 11:57 AM


"The way we were taught is not necessarily 
the way we should be teaching students."
                                - Stacey Roshan, HS Algebra Teacher, Bullis School

Learning for Mastery
3 Quick Videos Below

It's called "flip teaching" and  "reverse teaching" or a "backwards classroom" (who knew?), and "reverse instruction."  Here's how it's happening, for real:
  • Kids watch lectures and videos at home 
  • Class is for hands-on work and face-to-face interaction with teacher/peers

So why has this method become such a booming topic in education?
The days of the teacher as "sage on the stage" are numbered.  Instead, the teacher becomes the "guide on the side" where students are using the class/school experience as a fully interactive experience WITH the teacher  - - instead of the teacher being the one-way traditional talking head.   This way, students are asking questions and solving problems with the teacher or fellow students -  instead of just sitting compliantly and listening - where the teacher can spend more time addressing specific questions and personalized attention, rather than just the one-size-fits-all lecture. 

This is called "mastery", not unlike advancing in sports or the arts . . .one advances to the next step after having proven mastery of certain skills and proficiency, not just based upon age or grade level.   

Who else thinks "being flip in education" is a good thing?

  • HS Science Teacher Aaron Sams is doing it (video #1 below).
  • HS Algebra Teacher Stacey Roshan, from the Bullis School in Md.,  is doing it by flipping homework being done in class with the "lectures" being watched and reviewed at home.  (video #2 below).
  • HS Science Teacher Jon Bergman, is walking the talk (video #3 below).
  • Professor Karl Fisch is doing it, and calls it "The Future of Education".
  • Author Daniel Pink is talking about it in the UK with his Flip Thinking post.
  • Bill Gates is promoting it.  His insight starts at the 6:45 mark.
  • Author Seth Godin is writing about it and suggesting we push back on mediocre professors.
  • You may understand it when you see videos like this.

". . . teachers who help students become learners,
who can learn FOR themselves and BY themselves."
 - teacher Aaron Sams

  • Jan

    Thanks for the good advice. I am also working on school with tools. You should check my blog: http://fbhacken.nl/

  • Jeffrey

    I would say that they also learn hacking facebook on School these days. Its going pretty crazy lately on our school, they all surf to http://www.facebookhacken.net

  • Carolyn

    Not a single one of you address what i am supposed to do for my students who do NOT have access to Internet at home....and, believe it or not...there are students who cannot afford it, do not have it, parents won't get it, don't believe in it....(and the list goes on!).

    How am I, responsibly, supposed to require ALL of my students to have viewed the content if this is the case? HOW do I serve ALL of my students? As long as even ONE student is being left out by this type of instruction....HOW do I justify it?

    I would LOVE to be able to do this...however, have students who do not have the technology required to do it.

    The district my husband teaches in is 70% free and reduced lunch, high level of poverty. PLEASE, tell me how, how, do we justify to parents that they must shell out for Internet access when they can't afford to put food on the table? When we are sending backpacks home with the kids on Fridays containing food so they have something to eat over the weekend.....

    Yet, we are to teach these children how you are?


    Yeah, it's all butterflies, and rainbows, and unicorns....


  • Patricia Christian

    I hear you. I cannot ask my homeless student to work on an online assignment at home. I have to provide access to the technology during the school day. I am lucky if I am able to with only one lab and 50 teachers signing up. You also have to pray there are no internet connection or server issues. The playing field must be leveled for ALL students in having access or some will be left behind.

  • CJWesterberg

    Thank you and you are absolutely right - we too often speak as if there is one type of school or student.
    Technology is great but ultimately a quality guiding relationship with a caring and guiding adult whether a parent, teacher, counselor, mentor, coach is even more key and this basic need is often forgotten.

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