The Flipped Classroom
As a student attending school, I always felt disconnected from many of my classroom teachers. I was never one of the brightest students, nor was I one of the naughty ones.
I was average – just an average Joe. I was the “nice child” in the classroom who was polite and, some would say, easily distracted.
As I moved through my teacher training, I set out to right the wrongs of so many of the teachers who taught me. I dedicated my time to those children in the middle of the
row, the forgotten numbers with whom we just exchange niceties every day. Shortly after beginning my teaching, I knew that I could not achieve this goal of mine, and within weeks of my career, I too had fallen to the same habits. I was then lucky enough to move into a leadership position and all memories of the lack of time washed away as I got busy strategically planning, building new exciting spaces, and the list goes on.
In 2014, I was lucky enough to head off to the ICTLT conference in Singapore to learn more about digital technologies in schools. As we made our way through the conference programme and headed towards the end of it, a Keynote speaker, Aaron Sams, spoke about flipped learning. He was a secondary science teacher who started to talk about the lack of time in teaching, balancing the theory and practical in his chemistry class and how he wanted to get time back to work 1:1 with students. A rush of excitement came over me, and I spent the next hour fully engaged in what he was speaking about and considering translating that into a primary school setting. Two years later, I was fortunate to attend the ISTE conference in Denver, Colorado. Again, Aaron was speaking with Jon Bergman. The line to attend this workshop was out the door and down the hall — hundreds of teachers wanted to hear what they had to say. Again, I listened to their message about buying back time, working 1:1 with students, spending more time on practical hands-on activities and mastery and having students rewind learning breaks down into small pieces. I was completely sold that this was the way forward for students at Ashhurst School.
At the end of the conference, I introduced myself to Jon and talked about how this would work. Jon also spoke about how he was coming to NZ. I came back to Ashhurst School and talked to our team about whether this was the way forward for our school. I am incredibly fortunate for the staff at Ashhurst School. If it benefits students, our staff will embrace anything. All of our team completed the training and Jon even came to our school for a fascinating day about how we were to transform the traditional flipped learning model to the in-flip to operate.
Seven years on, I love walking around our classrooms hearing teachers engaging with students at a higher level. Flipped learning is built on the concept of Bloom’s Taxonomy. The flips provide the basic knowledge and comprehension, and it is the teacher’s role to help students apply and analyse information so that they can then
evaluate and create. It has brought time back to teachers to hear every student’s response, while gathering their voice about new understandings or misunderstandings. It is not about videos or IT; it is about reaching every student in every class every day. We are tremendously proud to be recognised as the first elementary flipped learning primary school in the world.