Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Are Teachers "Invisible" in a Flipped Classroom?

I just read a very insightful article titled "Becoming Invisible in My Classroom" written by classroom teacher Jane Healey.  It resonates highly with me, as I too have been questioned about what flipped learning advocates like myself actually do in a modern day "flipped classroom".  The part that struck me the most was this paragraph:
"The teacher isn’t at the front of the room talking, because the teacher is everywhere, interacting with individual students, working at their level with their skills, and challenging them to keep pushing and expanding the boundaries of their knowledge. The teacher is always in motion, adjusting to each student’s or each group’s needs."

Read the entire article here, it's worth it:
http://www.teachthought.com/teaching/becoming-invisible-classroom-through-flipped-classroom/

Since many adults (including myself) have only experienced the traditional, teacher-centric classroom model of education, we tend to assume
that real teaching only takes place when all kids are seated neatly in desks in rows, while the teacher performs at the front of the classroom.  The focus in this situation is primarily on what the teacher is doing, rather than the actual learning taking place (or not) by our students.  

Many school districts, including my own, have adopted teacher evaluation rubrics that focus primarily on actions performed by teachers.  This rubric style works best when evaluating traditional, teacher-centric classrooms.  However, it's like fitting a square peg in a round hole when using the same rubric to evaluate modern flipped classrooms.  This really frustrates me as a teacher and parent advocate for flipped learning, as I believe the evaluative focus should be on what students are actually learning and doing.

The Flipped Learning Network has developed what I feel is a superior way to evaluate teachers and classrooms that are using the flipped learning approach to educating our 21st century kids.  See it HERE.  It's known as the "Four Pillars of F-L-I-P" and clearly defines the expectations for a successful flipped classroom environment.  If only I had the choice as a classroom teacher, I would much prefer to be evaluated by the criteria on this rubric!

To learn more about the "Flipped Classroom", watch the video embedded below or on YouTube