Individual teachers across the world who are flipping their classes, are often working in isolation and small pockets. However, as the movement has grown, there is an increasing need to think systemically about how to scale flipped learning.
I believe three systems need to change for flipped learning to flourish on a large scale in a school or district: technological systems, pedagogical systems, and evaluation methodologies. In part one of this series, I discussed how technological systems need to be integrated, workflows need to be simplified, and technology infrastructure needs to support flipped learning. The focus of this post will be to examine how pedagogical systems need to adapt for flipped learning to thrive on a large scale.
Educational researchers have been studying learning for a very long time. In 2005, Patricia Cross wrote an article entitled: “What Do We Know About Students’ Learning and How Do We Know it?” She summarized with seven principles:
- Good practice encourages student-teacher contact.
- Good practice encourages cooperation among students.
- Good practice encourages active learning.
- Good practice gives prompt feedback.
- Good practice emphasizes time on task.
- Good practice communicates high expectations.
- Good practice respects diverse talents and ways of knowing.
Ms. Cross goes on to state, “Active learning is the grand meta-principle.” This principle was recently confirmed during an interview with Dr. Baohui Zhang from Shaanxi Normal University for my radio show. In our conversation, I asked, “Why does flipped learning work?.” Dr. Zhang replied simply, “It is because students are more active in their classrooms.”
But, are the vast majority of classrooms active places of learning? Are students engaged, interested, collaborating, and challenged? The sad fact is that too many classrooms are teacher-centered, focused on information transfer, and not active places of learning.
So how can schools and systems scale flipped learning from the perspective of pedagogy? Below are few suggestions:
- Mindset Change – For a large scale adoption of flipped learning to occur, teachers must believe that active learning is superior to passive learning. Mindset change is the most critical step. Without an underlying mindset change, flipped learning will have little impact.
- Collaboration and Teaming – The best flipped examples I have observed, have been when groups of teachers plan and implement flipped learning together. Administrators should identify key teachers who have made the mental switch, and support them through the flipped learning transformation. Make flipped learning teams a part of the fabric of your school.
- Model Flipped Learning – If flipped learning is good for students, then it is an even better idea for professional development. When schools flip their PD, teachers will themselves be engaged in an active learning experience.
- Actually Do it – I have met many teachers who say they believe in active learning, yet don’t practice it. Maybe it is time for administrators to give reluctant teachers a gentle nudge, while providing the support they will need to change.
Ultimately, the goal of flipped learning is for teachers to create active places of learning. Let’s not just flip classes; let’s flip schools! Start having those deep conversations about pedagogical systems and practices.
Weigh in. What pedagogical structures need to change in order for flipped learning to be adopted at scale?