Sunday, March 11, 2012

John Wooden and the Flipped Classroom

John Wooden is one of my heroes.  Being a former high school and college basketball player, as well as a former high school coach, he is someone who has shaped my thoughts, my views, and my practice both as a player and a coach.  My high school coach would quote him often and bought me my first John Wooden book "Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court" my senior year of high school, a book I still have on my bookshelf over ten years later.  I have now purchased almost every book he has written or that has been written about him.  Each book contains new snippets of knowledge and thought that spans far past coaching techniques, but into everyday life.

My latest book is You Haven't Taught Until They Have Learned: John Wooden's Teaching Principles and Practices (by Swen Nater, one of his former UCLA players).  This book really takes all of John Wooden's ideas on coaching and life a step further and applies them to the teaching profession.

While I could probably have an entire blog (not just a blog post, but an entire blog - maybe that will be next summer's project :) ) dedicated to the things John Wooden teaches that stick out to me and have made an impact on me, there was something I read tonight that made me stop, come down to my computer, and write this post tonight.

Read this quote from You Haven't Taught Until They Have Learned: John Wooden's Teaching Principles and Practices .  Isn't this what we want teachers to think about when we share about our "Flipped Classroom"? It's not about being a fad, it's not about being the newest hip thing.  It's about student learning.  It's about our students making more meaning of the content we are teaching.  It looks different in every class.  It's not one size fits all.  It's not perfect for every teacher or in every situation.  If your students aren't learning more or better or deeper in your flipped class, then why are you doing it?

Improving students' learning is the point, not simply changing teaching so it "looks" innovative or matches some instructional ideal.  Whenever some "new" kind of teaching is tried, the point is that students learn more.  The moment the focus shifts form what students are learning is the moment teachers risk getting off track.  The end is student learning; the means is teaching.  One does not become a better teacher just by adopting an approach that is in fashion or recommended.  Teachers are more effective when their students learn more. (page 105)

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