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Flip Your Classroom!

June 23, 2012

There’s a growing educational movement in America called, ‘Flipped Classrooms’. The idea behind this is that lesson ‘content’ is no longer delivered in the lesson, but in homework. How? Record the content on video, and ask students to watch it for homework. What’s the benefit? Well, I think there are many, but the main one for me is that it frees up lesson time to do more interactive learning.

We’ve tried it recently with our Citizenship GCSE students. We asked them to watch our short video tutorial (or vodcast) on the topic of ¬†globalisation. This covered basic definitions, explained what free trade was and explained the strengths and weaknesses of the World Trade Organisation. This then freed up time in the lesson to play a simulation game on the World Trade Organisation. The video above is just a short extract from it.

I don’t think this something we’ll do all the time, but as an occasional strategy, I think it’s definitely worth trying. Here’s a video of an American teacher explaining his thinking behind the approach.

We’ve also tried another experiment – ask your students’ parents to mark their work. It’s a simple idea, but a powerful one. First, it gets your parents more involved in their students’ learning, and second it motivates students to produce their best work. Below is a cover letter I sent home with the students to explain what I was asking their parents to do. Later, when I asked my students for feedback on this approach, some liked it, others didn’t. Why didn’t they like it? Apparently their parents marked too strictly!

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