Over the past few years, the idea of ‘talk-less’ teaching has garnered much attention and we are encouraged to adopt it as standard classroom practice for many reasons; it reduces teacher talk, emphasises to students the importance of them working as hard (if not harder) than the teacher to facilitate their progress, increases student engagement and allows us to spend more time circulating the classroom and assessing the strengths and needs of our students.
To get to this point, lessons need to be planned in a way that allows students the opportunity to seek information for themselves, to use their prior knowledge to advance with the information they are provided with in lessons. This is where flipped learning comes in; if the information students need to know can be given to them before the lesson, this will allow us to spend more time with them in lesson on the application of theory, practical work and exam practice, as opposed to using that time to introduce key concepts to them. Using this approach has allowed me to spend the majority of my contact time with students doing exactly that – being in contact with them, communicating with them personally and individually, clarifying any confusions and misconceptions, explaining ideas on a 1-1 basis to personalise each student’s learning experience and build relationships to promote a positive learning environment.
So, how can you share with students the information they need to know outside of the lesson?
If the resources students use in lessons are accessible to them outside of school, for example, a textbook they can take home, buy themselves, or better still, access for free online, they can be encouraged to pre-read the upcoming lesson and make notes to prepare for the lesson content. To provide some structure, the task can be scaffolded by constructing comprehension style questions to ensure students are able to access the fundamental ideas within the information they are pre-reading. These do not need to be extensive; a few key questions can be enough. These can be uploaded on to Edmodo in advance of the lesson for students to complete in their own time, or shared with them however you would prefer in advance of the upcoming lessons.
Another way that students can be prepared for a new unit of work is by asking them to define key terms they will be expected to use and apply; again, a simple table with the key terminology can be constructed to ensure students are provided with some structure and this will become a glossary within their notes, which they can reference any time they need. They can also be asked to enhance the task creatively by drawing images to help them understand what the key terminology means or by using it in a sentence. To stretch students, they can be asked to apply what they understand by answering textbook questions, and to differentiate, a different version of the information can be provided to support students with the task, such as a website aimed at a lower key-stage or watching a video instead.
Using the flipped learning approach will allow more in-class lesson time to be dedicated towards ensuring students have a richer learning experience, will involve our students more directly in the process of teaching, learning and assessment, and it will, hopefully, change your experience as a classroom practitioner for the better, as it has mine.