Thursday, September 25, 2014

Intentional Instruction...A Pillar of the Flipped Classroom

Have you ever had a class period like this?

Teacher: Today, our objective is to analyze the Articles of Confederation, noting strengths and weaknesses of the form of government. The Articles of Confederation w---
Student 1: Can you spell that?
Student 2: Can you repeat what you just said?
Teacher (frustrated already): Yes, A-R-T-I-C-L-E-S of C-O-N-F-E-D-E-R-A-T-I-O-N. Our goal is to find strengths and weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. As I was saying, the Articles of Confederation was the first attempt at setting up a functioning government in the new United States. As I move onto the next slide, we see t---
Student 3: Can you go back to the last slide? I didn't get everything
Class: (Loudly grumbles)
Teacher: Yes, I'll go back to that slide. (Other students begin talking when one student asks about the teacher's favorite subject in school) Well, my favorite subject was obviously social studies...
Student 1: What did you hate in school?
Student 2: Did you play sports? Were you good?
Teacher: (Thinking to, this is a trainwreck. I doubt I'll regain their attention for a while...)

The scenario I described frequently happened in my class last year. I was trying to impart important knowledge upon my students, and it didn't work the way I had planned. I was constantly repeating myself, spelling words, repeating myself again, going back to a previous slide, filling time with pointless anecdotes and stories, and...not communicating information effectively for all of my students.

This was a HUGE reason I chose to flip my classroom.

I was the student in school who took notes diligently, wrote down the important information, and (not-so) patiently waited for my classmates to catch up. This drove me, and most likely my teacher, INSANE.

Flipping my classroom has allowed me to fix these issues. If students need information repeated, they simply push rewind on the video. If students need to have a word spelled, they pause or rewind the video. If students miss something from the lecture, they rewatch the video. 

Creating lecture videos has allowed me to embrace intentional instruction in my class. When I create my videos, I communicate the important content information without the numerous classroom distractions and disruptions. My students have commented that the lecture videos are great because...
  • they can pause and rewind lecture videos
  • they can listen to my lectures as many times as they need to in order to understand the concept
  • they have constant access to the lecture videos
Hopefully, more intentional instruction will result in better retention and higher test scores!