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.