In education, pioneering ideas are as much about intuition as they are about pragmatism. They are the reflection of a necessity. Their authors are passionate teachers, often dissatisfied with their practice.
At first, they may question these ideas when confronted with a new situation. Then they experiment, adapt and perfect them.
In a second stage, teachers share their knowledge and their know-how. Emulators and new adepts surge: they make these ideas their own, adapt them and, in turn, transmit them.
The“Flipped Class” concept is an example of this process.
A Brief History
The pioneer may well have been Benjamin Blum, in the 70s, or maybe, some twenty years later, the physics teacher Eric Mazur. However, it may be easier to remember the two stories that follow. Two maths and chemistry teachers in Colorado decide to film their classes and send them, by Internet, to students that had been absent so that they would not fall behind. They realised that gradually, their videos were being watched more and more often by… the students attending their classes! They then offered the following to their students: to watch the videos of the lessons at home, take note and then they would give them exercises and projects to complete in class. The Flipped Class was born!
Salman Khan is a computer scientist. He wanted to help his little cousins, who live far away, to do their homework. He recorded short videos in which he explained the notions they did not understand and sent them via a Youtube account. Soon he realised that his little films were being watched by more and more people. This turned around his professional life as he decided to create the Khan Academy, a free online course, accessible to everyone.
A New Impulse
Teachers now have a great number of learning tools and online resources. Each teacher can now, if he/she wishes, reconsider his/her place in the group of students. Because it is a fact: since the birth of the Internet, the teacher is no longer the sole holder of knowledge. Why not, in this case, evolve and take the role of a guide, rather than continue being a teacher? And, at the same time, take advantage of this to change their position: teaching side by side with the students rather than face to face.
Maybe a solution to (re) motivate students in their learning process was before our eyes!
On the one hand, we can have a teacher who decides to change his way of doing things by offering an attractive learning tool that allows him to be more available to his students, but without changing everything.
On the other hand, we have a student who is more motivated because he is allowed to progress at his own pace and is encouraged to be more independent, self-sufficient and responsible for his work.
Concretely, how does it work?
- The teacher introduces a lesson in the form of a rather short video.
- Students view it, alone or in a group, at school or at home.
- The teacher evaluates how much the student has understood through a questionnaire. He then divides his students into several working groups, according to their needs: review the lesson if necessary; reinforce it by means of written exercises or with adapted applications (websites, applications on Ipads); suggest a further research work to produce a presentation or a piece if written work.
- Children keep a written record of the lesson in the form of a mental map or schematic notes.
- Individually or in groups, children put into practise what they have learned by making a small projects that they present to the class.
The Flipped Class at Eden School
Teachers are gradually applying this teaching method in our school. They are aware on the fundamental principles, objectives and processes necessary to implement it in their classes. The Flipped Class is in line with the way in which we work: differentiation of teaching and learning, and instilling independent learning, collaboration with peers, and building self-confidence.
The teaching team has combined the with the practices that we have already set up in the classes