"Imagine I was teaching you about the Trig Functions today. I would have 40 of you in the 'audience', half of you listening, half of you spacing out, half of you getting it, half of you lost, half of you participating, half of you slouching back in your chair mindlessly copying notes. Even if I was super exciting, doing crazy things up front, making amazing connections...that is still what I would see."
I then asked him to take a glance around the classroom right then. Here is what we saw (I wish I had my video camera with me):
EVERY SINGLE STUDENT was working.
EVERY SINGLE STUDENT was engaged.
EVERY SINGLE STUDENT was either solving a problem, leaning over helping someone else, talking about a question, or otherwise involved.
No matter what complaints I hear, I know what I am looking for as an educator. And, when I see more engagement, involvement, higher-order thinking, questioning, achievement, improvement, and feelings of competency than I have in my five years of teaching thus far, I know that I am doing something right.
Or, THEY are doing something right.
THEY are the ones who are doing the work, leading the discussions, making the connections, and challenging themselves.
I am just there to guide, to provide the structure, to explain when necessary, to encourage when needed, to push when they are stuck, and to fully support their learning.
Their success is in their hands. They have all the tools necessary to succeed. They are responsible for their own learning. It is up to them to do what they should with what they are provided. That is very freeing to me, as a self-admitted overly stressed and overly involved teacher. I can't do the learning for them; I can just provide them with everything they need to take charge of their learning and succeed.
A student-centered classroom.
I really like this change. Although it is still a big work in progress and I am always learning new things, the Flipped Classroom approach has changed my teaching in amazing ways. I can't wait to see what the rest of this semester holds!