College-Ready? You’ll Know It When You See It

Editors Features June 19 / June 20, 2019

 – Dan Jones –

College and Career Readiness (CCR) is one of those phrases in education that can spark some confusion. According to the American Institute of Research (AIR), there are 37 different definitions of “college and career readiness.” Even though there is not a consensus regarding the definition, there is a consensus surrounding the characteristics that make up CCR.

AIR has determined that “academic knowledge, critical thinking, and/or problem solving, social and emotional learning, collaboration, and/or communication, grit/resilience/perseverance, as well as citizenship and/or community involvement are foundational characteristics that make up CCR.” Let’s address each of these areas and the role Flipped Learning plays as it leads the charge in preparing students for the challenges that lay ahead.

Academic Knowledge

Flipped Learning empowers students to take greater ownership of their learning. John Spencer, author of the article, “7 Things That Happen When Students Own Their Learning,” identifies that student ownership allows students to fall in love with learning. Flipped Learning helps students to engage differently with the curriculum, and they begin to take their learning to a much deeper level. Because educators are no longer working in front of students, they can walk alongside students as they engage in more challenging concepts. Students can dive deeper into the curriculum in more out of a flipped classroom than a traditional one and will be more prepared to meet the challenges that await them in college or a career.

Critical Thinking | Problem Solving

Aliye Karabulut-Ilgu, Suhan Yao, Peter Savolainen and Charles Jahren conducted research surrounding the Student Perspectives on the Flipped-Classroom Approach and Collaborative Problem-Solving Process. They found that “Students were shown to engage in five types of behaviors during collaborative problem solving: problem analysis or understanding, individually working on problems, comparing individual work, interacting with peers, and interacting with the instructor.” When Flipped Learning is combined with Project-based Learning (PBL), problem-solving and critical thinking are central characteristics of the students’ learning experience. By very nature, PBL encourages students to continually evaluate how they are representing content and whether or not their project needs to be tweaked to best represent their understanding of the curriculum. As students apply their new understandings, they will run into problems, and students see these problems as opportunities for growth.

Social and Emotional Learning

Flipped Learning is rooted in a core element: Relationships. Because teachers are spending their time investing in students and working alongside them, it becomes easier to care for the social and emotional wellbeing of our students. Flipped educators have the time to invest in the social and emotional aspect of their students because they know the impact it has on the overall learning experience. Students in a flipped classroom experience a more personal education. Educators can guide students through their education by:

  • slowing them down when necessary;
  • providing them with specific feedback to develop a growth mindset;
  • knowing exactly what a student needs to take a leap of faith;
  • encouraging them when they get overwhelmed; and
  • being their cheerleader when they are successful.

The more time we spend nurturing our relationship with our students, the more equipped they will be to navigate the situations and stress they will encounter in their careers as well as college.

Collaboration | Communication

Danny Wong wrote an article titled The Importance of Real-time Collaboration. In it, he writes, “Real-time collaboration plays a critical role in ensuring everyone is accountable and productive.” In a flipped project-based learning environment, students are given ample opportunity to collaborate. The students spend a great deal of time analyzing their work, exchanging ideas about the best approach to problems they encounter, and they develop an open exchange of ideas. This type of constructive dialogue helps students to see that the obstacles and challenges they face are not there to hinder their progress but propel them to see them as springboards for new ideas to emerge. Because class time is spent engaging with the content, students in a flipped classroom have more significant opportunities to build their collaboration and communication skills.

Grit | Resilience | Perseverance

Flipped Learning builds a growth mindset. A growth mindset is built upon grit, resilience, and perseverance. Growth mindsets promote lifelong learning, and students in a flipped classroom come to understand that learning is a process. Laura Minnigerode wrote in her article, Digital Learning and Grit: Tech Tools for Teachers in a Flipped (and all) Classrooms, “A belief that effort will make students smarter and more successful – known as ‘growth mindset’ — is perhaps the most fundamental foundation of grit, tenacity, and perseverance for learners.” Growth mindsets are fostered through supportive learning environments. When students are supported and encouraged, they can build the resilience needed to persevere through obstacles. A growth mindset enhances every career and college experience. A career is a journey, and a college course is a step forward in that journey.

Citizenship and Community Involvement

Every aspect of Flipped Learning helps to build strong citizenship and community involvement. Relationships, emotional support, problem solving, collaboration, and grit are all characteristics of people who are movers and shakers. They are the ones who not only discuss the problems within their community, but they also fight to make it better. They are equipped to improve the lives of others because of how they have been invested in and guided. Flipped educators are building the leaders of tomorrow. They are cultivating the most robust characteristics to make students college and career ready.

College and career readiness may not be clearly defined, but the methods for creating it are. Flipped educators are investing in their students in ways that not only equip them for the day to day challenges but for their future, whatever that may be. Colleges and business will be taken to new heights because today’s students were actively engaged in flipped classrooms.

Dan Jones
Dan Jones Jones
Dan Jones is a middle school social studies teacher at the Richland School of Academic Arts. He earned a BS in Middle Grades Education from Ashland University and a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from American College of Education. Dan is the author of Flipped 3.0 Project Based Learning: An Insanely Simple Guide. He is a founding member of the FLGI International Faculty and has earned numerous FLGI certifications including the certification Flipped Learning 3.0 Master Class Facilitator Certification Level - I.

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