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Flipped Classroom Resistance

Will Richardson has a nice piece about three popular terms in the education community now: Personalizing flipped engagement.

While interesting commentary on all three, I was drawn into his commentary on the flipped classroom primarily because I find the pushback on this quite intriguing:

As a high-school English teacher, I was flipping in the classroom in 1983, having my students read the literature at home and come into class ready to discuss it. That was flipping the curriculum, but it still wasn’t flipping the control of the learning. By assigning the lecture at home, we’re still in charge of delivering the curriculum, just at a different time. From what I’ve seen, flipping doesn’t do much for helping kids become better learners in the sense of being able to drive their own education.

I get it. When looked at from the mainstream perspective, the flipped classroom doesn’t seem much different from what many teachers do.

But I reminded of how many teachers haven’t even taken this step. They are still in full-blown content, delivery, and learning as an object mode.

There is little emphasis on the learner and learning. And that remains the problem, a problem so deeply rooted in some mindsets that there is no alternative conversation possible.

And I’m reminded of how many of these teachers have balked at talks that move them on the continuum towards a different notion of learning. Whether constructivist beliefs from a philosophical stance or broken down into pragmatic topics, these always met resistance.

So I started to speak from where the teachers were to slowly but surely move them on the continuum. The more I did this, the more doors opened. The mainstream version? Yes. But I get that, too. It honors their content, delivery, learning as object lens while also shifting it.

So I’ve long seen the flipped classroom as a starting point, a mechanism to begin rethinking the delivery of content. And that is what is important –  working beyond the starting point.

Beyond the Starting Point (slightly modified from this older post)

Because I  worry about the checklist (starting point), media focused approach to the Flipped Classroom, I work to help teachers understand that is the starting point towards a more significant pedagogical shift:

  1. a greater emphasis on production time not consumption time.
  2. a greater emphasis on learning as a process not an object
  3. a greater emphasis on a culture of learning not schooling

This is the flipping I want: flipping the notion of learning as object to learning as process. The process of knowing (content), doing (skills), thinking (habits of mind), and being (experiences & dispositions) – what I call cSHED. When this process is amplified by a culture rooted in “learning, unlearning, and relearning”, we have the type of culture I think is needed in education.

This pedagogical shift leads to shifts in practices:

  1. Content-Centered Goes Mobile & Public: Created, curated, repurposed, and remixed content with asynchronous and synchronous connections.
  2. Learner-Centered Goes Blended:  Digital, Analog, Challenged-Based Learning, Project-Based Learning, and Design Thinking
  3. Teacher-Centered Goes Community-Centered:  Peer to Peer, Peer 2 Teacher, and Peer 2 Stranger Mentoring
  4. Learning Goes Connected: interest-driven, networked-minded, and production focused
  5. Assessment Goes Dynamic: formative assessment, dynamic & flexible learning objects, and proposal-based assessments
  6. Homework Goes Individual: choice, self-paced, multiple modalities, customized, and prep focused

Leverage but Resist the Mainstream

We simply cannot let the mainstream, checklist-based approach to the Flipped Classroom become the accepted approach. We have to strip it down to the core and break away from the canned program that many are turning it into, a canned program that lives up to he reasons great minds are resisting.

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