Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

The Flipped Classroom

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

The Flipped Classroom

Article excerpt

Are educational paradigms beginning to shift? The digital age has meant the way in which we access information has changed immeasurably. The answer to pretty much any question is now at our fingertips or at the end of a mouse or the tap of a tablet screen. This seemingly limitless access of information has irrevocably changed the way in which students approach their learning and will continue to so in the future - we teachers must simply endeavour to keep up!

With this in mind perhaps it is time for us to reevaluate the role of the classroom in the learning dynamic? Many schools continue to employ an instruction-based model of education which involves the teacher delivering information to their students. 'Today we are going to learn about oligopolistic market structures' routinely translates as ... 'Today I am going to spend the limited time we have together as teacher and student telling you about the features of an oligopoly market - 1 expect you to process and make sense of this information in your own time, although I will make some time towards the end of the lesson to support you with this'. Sound familiar?

Teachers will endeavour to support students in their learning and, for the most part, do a pretty fine job working within the limitations of time and student numbers. It seems unlikely that class numbers or the amount of time we get with our students will change in the near future so the question is 'Is there a better way?'

American colleges have begun to adopt the flipped classroom approach as a way of circumventing these restrictions. The flipped classroom model involves the teacher delivering the 'taught' element outside of the classroom. Students complete this element of their learning prior to attending the lesson. This allows the teacher to spend more 1:1 time with students in lessons consolidating their learning and allowing them to progress to more challenging tasks quicker. Doubtless many of you who are reading this will ask what is so new about this idea? Indeed, many of us have been employing a 'flipped classroom' model for years, setting reading or research homework prior to the delivery of a topic (although without the snazzy Americanised name).

It is the variety and accessibility of modern technology that has made 'flipping' the classroom a more exciting experience for both teachers and students alike. Video clips, podcasts and blogging are just three tools that can be used effectively to deliver a flipped classroom. Students will often be more enthusiastic about learning through these technologies than through reading a traditional textbook and taking notes (although I believe these methods still maintain significant value). Moreover, these technologies can often be effectively delivered via those annoying little gadgets that seem permanently attached to the students' palms and have little white wires that snake up from the uniform towards the ear, meaning that these learning resources can be stored more conveniently and accessed at will.

Where to begin?

My advice is to start small. Select one lesson from your scheme of work to try out before even thinking about delivering an entire topic. Next, select a method of delivery. There is no 'best method1 of delivery - only what's best for you. Some will be familiar with recording their own voice or recording themselves teaching on video. …

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