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The Importance of Understanding the Relationship Between the Flipped Class Model and Pedagogy

‘Thank You!’ to Teachers who are Taking the Time to Write About How the Flipped Instruction Model Facilitates Learning and Ties to Pedagogy.

This week I came across this brief post, “Enhancing the Flipped Classroom”, from David Ashby, who publishes the Blogspot blog techtoolsforschools. His insights strike me as reminiscent of Dr. Jackie Gerstein’s Flipped Learning Full Cycle Model. These educators understand that thoughtfully implemented flipped teaching goes well beyond “consume, review, repeat”. Good flipped teaching and learning is far more involved and incorporates a full cycle of learning activities. It is ultimately the underlying pedagogy that should drive the use of the flip, and is where much its value is found.

Ashby’s point is that the steps of the flip need to be thoughtfully aligned with the underlying learning strategies it can facilitate. It is vital that educators make an effort to really understand how this cycle of learning activities can enable learning, and to not just see the flip as some sort of ‘trend’. In “Five Best Practices for the Flipped Classroom”, educator Andrew Miller suggests that teachers adopt a pedagogical model and “become a master of those models first, and then use the flipped classroom to support the learning.”

So much of what flipped teaching is about isn’t new – it’s just bringing together a number of ideas and constructs, (some older and some newer – like the focus on leveraging digital content) in a way that makes sense for 21st century teaching and learning.

Here is the model Ashby offers:

David Ashby’s “Revised Flipped Model” Diagram

Flipped Model Revised Image from TechToolsforSchools Blog

This contrasted to a simpler model of, “watch videos, guided practice, assess”. This improved model takes a deeper dive into the learning activities. One thing I would add to the above cycle/flow is some sort of front end dialogue to introduce a new learning topic. The outside-of-class learning content consumption generally shouldn’t be the introductory point for new materials, it should be an opportunity for a deeper dive, an exploration, and the first of several opportunities in the cycle for reinforcement and reflection. Dr. Gerstein’s model incorporates this initial step. This is not to say that any particular model is inherently right or wrong, but simply to offer more food for thought in consideration of the learning science that aligns with flipped instruction.

It is vital that educators strive to understand the intended outcomes of flipped instruction before they simply dismiss it as some sort of simplified “right or wrong” idea. Chances are, flipped instruction can help to facilitate some the fundamental teaching concepts that you strive to use in your classroom and would like to see more of in your school. To quickly explore this further, if there is some sort of teaching and learning concept that you are passionate about (such as Project Based Learning, or critical thinking skills, or the importance of 21st century skills, as whatever strikes you as essential to excellent teaching and learning), take a moment to do a quick Google or Bing search – just type “flipped classroom” and the concept you advocate and see what you kind of results you get. I encourage all educators to try this, and to share their results!

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