Flipping across the curriculum
Ross Corker, Secondary Learning and Teaching Advisor at Bangkok Patana School explains their approach to ‘flipped learning’ with secondary students.
Independent and motivated
Patana, like other schools, puts a real premium on students becoming independent, motivated and engaged learners. This requires real teamwork as staff work collaboratively to develop and then use a diverse range of learning and teaching strategies. One approach we have enjoyed developing together is that of Flipped Learning, which we have found really does enable students to foster their critical thinking and collaborative skills.
What is it?
Flipped Learning is a learner centred model, which ‘flips’ the more traditional idea of a teacher telling the students what they need to know or providing them with information. Students are more active in their learning; they are given materials and tasks prior to a lesson and asked to work through these independently as Home Learning. Students may read materials or watch clips or tutorials outside of class. Students are encouraged and challenged to discover key concepts, or broaden their knowledge, of a particular topic themselves, facilitated by the materials or guidance from their teacher. The concept of Flipped Learning goes back to the 1990s, but the phrase came into more popular use in the mid-2000s following the work of two Science teachers, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams.
According to Patana biology teacher,John Burrell
“Flipped Learning provides students with predictable, manageable, achievable and valuable Home Learning, leading to lessons in school which are immediately engaging and challenging.”
Flipping across the curriculum
Positive results have encouraged us to go further as teachers look at a variety of different ways to deliver Flipped Learning across the curriculum, including asking students to look at pre-lesson content and use online learning approaches which allow them to pause, rewind and repeat videos at their own pace.
By asking them to carry out learning that requires lower-order thinking skills before the lesson, it means we can move on to the more challenging, higher-order thinking skills when we are together in class.
According to English teacher Lindsay Tyrrell,
“For me, Flipped Learning is about maximising the face-to-face time I have with my students. By asking them to carry out learning that requires lower-order thinking skills before the lesson, it means we can move on to the more challenging, higher-order thinking skills when we are together in class. This leads to more insightful discussions, a wider range of critical, inquisitive questions, and it essentially accelerates the learning in a supportive environment.”
Students in a Drama lesson were set a Home Learning task to remember and practise a monologue. During the lesson students began performing almost instantly. Instead of having to spend time learning the lines in class, students burst into a performance of energetic and dynamic monologues.
This maximised the time in class for students to develop and refine the vital performance skills required for their assessment and allowed the teacher to spend more time providing individual formative feedback.
Students in Mathematics watched a video for Home Learning, which gave them the opportunity to gain the knowledge and understanding of Key Formulae required for the lesson. One student said, “After watching the video I understood the methods and felt confident applying some of the formula, but still had questions about some aspects of the methods. By completing the ‘consolidation task’ I felt more confident completing harder questions at a later point in the lesson.”
Last academic year, a number of staff explored ways to develop their own knowledge and expertise of Flipped Learning. Sessions included a cross-faculty Home Learning party, Career Professional Learning sessions and the Secondary School Teacher Learning Communities.
“I creatively flipped the teaching of Twelfth Night, a lengthy Shakespeare play, asking students to research the plot and characters before producing their own plot summary in a format of their choosing. The results were fantastic and included videos, Twitter feeds from the characters, storybooks and a flip book. More importantly, the students were really enthusiastic about the task and clearly relished the opportunity to show off their talents and skills,” reported English teacher Hannah Davis.
This year staff at Bangkok Patana School will continue to develop their understanding and application of the approach while reviewing the impact that it is having on student progress and attainment. It looks like we’ll keep flipping!
Ross Corker, Secondary Learning and Teaching Advisor, Bangkok Patana School
Support Images: Kindly provided by Ross