We’ve written before about the inverted or flipped classroom pedagogy (for example: here, here, and here), and today there is an interesting column on the subject in The Chronicle of Higher Education by Jennifer Ebbeler, a classics professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
The column points out that the flipped classroom requires the instructor to find useful activities for students to do during the time in the classroom that would otherwise be occupied by lectures. This can be a challenge. I’ve tried the Socratic dialogue approach and competitive presentations with some success, but in a large class these methods simply doesn’t work because not all students are equally engaged. Joey in the back row with his backwards baseball cap simply tunes out. The project-based learning that I wrote about in my last post seems ideal for a flipped classroom, but I will need to find a way of preventing students from assuming that they can meet before or after class to get everything done. This means activities that promote collaboration, in other words, activities that function as:
- Formative assessment checkpoints — has each student or each group completed stage 1 and stage 2 before moving onto stage 3? What exactly should each stage consist of?
- Processes for constructive peer evaluation — is each student contributing effectively to whatever the group has to accomplish in order bring its project to completion?