Posted by: darcymullin | August 23, 2012

Flipping Out


Over the last year I have been really inspired by the work of Carolyn Durley (@okmbio).  She has flipped her senior classroom and chronicled her journey in her blog.  Recently I have read a few posts by Bill Ferriter (@plugsin) about flipping faculty meetings.  All of this got me thinking about what it means to “flip”.  I had a chat with Carolyn about flipping on Twitter and thought that I might try flipping our staff meetings.  She was very encouraging and I know would be someone I could count on to help guide me through the process.

After talking to Carolyn, I had a conversation Chris Wejr (@chriswejr) and we talked about the concept of flipping.

In the course of our conversation Chris said:

“What Carolyn is doing is so much more than flipping her classroom.  To say what she is doing is just flipping instruction is doing her a huge dis-service.  People will think she is just replicating ‘Khan Academy’”.

I have to agree with Chris.

Carolyn is doing so much more than getting her students to watch videos.  She is flipping her entire classroom and instructional practice.  She is flipping assessment – both formative and summative.  She is flipping grading.  She is flipping her class to focus on process instead of product.  She is flipping the culture from one based on marks and percentages to one focused on learning and improvement.

The more I think about it this is the true essence of the “flipped classroom”.  It is taking the practices we know are not in the best interests of students and flipping them so they empower students instead of controlling them.

After some time to  reflect, I had a visit from one of the teachers from our school, Darcy Fedorak.  Over the summer she had some intensive Tribes training and wants to really focus on developing a more inclusive culture in our school.  She is completely energized about doing some innovative things with our students and staff.

Again, this got me thinking about the idea of flipping our staff meetings.  As we were chatting, I realized that flipping our meetings doesn’t mean I have to make a video of the administrivia items and share them before the meeting (although I still may), but rather shift the meetings so we focus on what’s important.

We are going to start each meeting with a Tribes activity to model inclusive practices and build community on staff.  We will then move directly into a collaborative Professional Development activity.  We will reserve a little time at the end to answer questions about the informational items that seem to eat up valuable meeting minutes.  I think by flipping the focus and order of the  meeting and focusing on what’s important is a big step in creating opportunities for professional learning.

Thanks to those mentioned in this post for sharing and making connections for me.

All in all, a pretty good day of learning.

About these ads

Responses

  1. [...] Over the last year I have been really inspired by the work of Carolyn Durley (@okmbio). She has flipped her senior classroom and chronicled her journey in her blog. Recently I have read a few posts by Bill Ferriter (@plugsin) …  [...]

  2. You couldn’t be more correct, IMO.

    @hark07 and I had the pleasure of visiting Carolyn’s class this past year and I left with the firm belief that the whole landscape was changing – to say it is about watching videos couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you take a solid look at a flipped class, you soon realize that a number of traditional pillars will come down and need to be reconstructed – assessment is one of them that came to mind immediately.

    Great blog post…

  3. Darcy wrote:

    The more I think about it this is the true essence of the “flipped classroom”. It is taking the practices we know are not in the best interests of students and flipping them so they empower students instead of controlling them.

    - – - – - – - –

    This is a brilliant explanation, Darcy. When I think of flipping, I don’t see it as “dumbing down” or “hollowing out” instruction at all. Instead, I see it as freeing up time in class for learners to explore together — or independently — because we aren’t wasting time grinding through the delivery of content.

    We are prioritizing social interactions as learning tools — and creating time for those social interactions to happen.

    Very cool indeed….
    Bill

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Bill. I couldn’t agree more.

  4. I think that is a fantastic idea, to flip a staff meeting. I know that I’ve been a part of waaaay too many meetings during my careers where I had little to hear and little to add. Just like educators are re-thinking the lecture, I think that meetings can be re-thought too.

    You also hit the nail on the head about the problem with using the term “flip.” It sounds like Carolyn is doing a lot of wonderful things, far beyond “flipping” the classroom. This is my main critique of the flipped classroom: the language does not do justice to all of the cool things that it might refer to. Chris’ quote reinforces this idea, that Carolyn’s work cannot (and should not) be encapsulated by one term.

    Back to your staff meetings and your twitter posts on the issue – yes, try flipping the staff meeting! I hope you don’t face too much resistance though, like from he-who-shall-not-named. Perhaps frame the staff meeting in a new light, “I want the staff meetings to be short and productive, please pre-view the agenda and topics the night before and during the meeting we’ll make some decisions/expand/consolodate etc etc.” The staff’s time is valuable (including yourself), and if the staff sees this being recognized then hopefully they will feel empowered and engaged. Just like students!

  5. Hi Darcy…What a roller coaster this post has been! Thank you for taking the time and insight to see what my flip class for what it is. What a gift to hear your description of my classroom actually match what I see it as.
    Your sentence ” but rather shift the meetings so we focus on what’s important.” nails it for me, in terms of what flip has provided me; a huge shift in the classroom to what’s important.
    Your post also reminded me to hang tough with what I know to be true for my classroom and ignore what critics tell me it is. Sometimes this is hard and sometimes hurtful, but again your sentence is true; shift to what’s important.
    I am excited to hear what you decide to do with your staff meeting, whether flipped or not, it sounds like you have a fresh focus on what you want to accomplish.
    best,
    c

  6. Thanks for this post. I am also following the ‘flip’ wave quite closely. I fully agree that the true, meaningful flip is so much more than delivery. It puts understanding and process at the forefront and moves far away from learning for marks. Thanks for the nice read. Paul


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,341 other followers

%d bloggers like this: