Flipping the Classroom
J. Carrubba

After starting my POT certification last spring, I decided to experiment with flipping my classroom as a means to allow for more student involvement and engagement. I really wanted to find a way that allowed for more student group work in class (as well as online), and, at the same time, ditched my textbooks in favor of first-person sources and more in-depth texts that allow for critical thinking.

The conception of the flipped classroom has long interested me, as I see it as a new means to allow for the incorporation of different learning styles. The idea is also to force students to take on more responsibility for learning, hopefully allowing for a more valuable learning experience and more retention of the material presented. The professor becomes guide in this process.

In my course, what this means is the students do the reading for the week, write the blog or discussion forum, take exams, write papers, and begin internalizing the material outside of class. In class, we get a (theoretically) in-depth discussion going of the material for the week, clear up misunderstandings about the material, and do group work that furthers the learning. For my group work in class, the students read first-person or scholarly sources related to the material, and then respond to a specific prompt related to that reading. It requires that they have read, and thought about the material, and then that they tie it back to the rest of what we have been doing that week.

Granted, I am less than a year into this, but I have noticed a huge shift in the way my students learn and interact in class. Their grades have come up, and, by the end of the semester, they are really thinking critically about the course materials. In fact, the last in-class group work assignment in my Art Orientation will require them to really think about art orientation/appreciation class and their format. They will come up with an outline of their ideal type of this class, and what assignments and assessments it will contain. I may actually use some of the better suggestions of these because, ultimately, they are the ones whose learning we are facilitating.