Making the Most of the Flipped Format: Active Learning at Work

Making the Most of the Flipped Format: Active Learning at Work

April Gudenrath (Discovery Canyon High School, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2242-3.ch007
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Flipping the English language arts (ELA) classroom can be equally empowering and frustrating. However, the increased time and effort are worth the gains in student knowledge and teacher satisfaction. The key to success is helping students to work individually and independently. In this chapter, ideas for promoting student independence through flipping writing, flipping discussions, and flipping vocabulary instruction are provided.
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Getting Started: What Is The Best Use Of My Class Time?

After my experience with Sams and Bergmann, I came back to my own classroom and started reviewing my classes – purposefully analyzing content, objectives, and assessment. I quickly realized that the best use of my class time was when my students were having to use higher-order thinking skills. They didn’t need my help to listen to a background lecture on William Shakespeare; they needed me when they were analyzing and writing about his works. So I decided to start with considering what my students could learn independently.

To do this, I examined my curriculum and lesson plans and considered what English language arts (ELA) content could be addressed by students working independently and, probably individually, along with any content that needed to be addressed as a whole class activity. I started writing and recording videos to address any content that students could learn independently. One example of this type of ELA subject matter is background material on authors. When I teach Hamlet, it is important for my students to have some background information on Shakespeare, of course, but also on the culture, religion, and politics of the time. Providing background information is traditionally completed as a whole group activity; however, I realized that this was not the best use of my class time, so I flipped the lesson. I created videos and webquests that covered the lecture material, but also encouraged creativity and curiosity before my students read the play. As Moran and Young (2015) state, one key consideration when flipping is to remember that activities completed as part of the flipped experience at home should be connected to the learning activities that follow in the classroom.

Once I did that, I began to see some changes in my classroom. Not only did I have more time to engage students in active learning activities and critical thinking, but I started to see the shift of responsibility of learning from the teacher to the student (Freire, 1970). I saw a dramatic increase not only in my students’ commitment to homework, but their contributions in the class as well. Fostering student participation and engagement in this way is so important because if students do not experience this, then no matter what we do in the classroom, it will not be enough to inspire them to transfer and transform information they’ve learned into personal knowledge that can then be applied long after they leave the classroom.

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