How Far Teachers in China Are Willing to Go to Reach Every Student

Out of the Box March 20 / Uncategorized / March 30, 2020

 – Jon Bergmann –

Many of China’s 280 million students are out of school now due to the coronavirus. According to CNBC, many families are seeking out online options in fear that their students may fall behind while brick and mortar schools are shut down. Many industrious teachers are still holding classes using tools such as WeChat and video to hold real-time classes for their students. The video below posted on Twitter shows how creative teachers are in reaching their students.

To allow students to have classes at home during the #COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese teachers have transformed themselves into online anchors. Let’s take a look at the teachers’ live teaching behind the scenes.

— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) February 17, 2020

 As I watched the video above, I was struck with the dedication of the teachers. The teacher who climbed a mountain to look for good wifi showed the amazing dedication of teachers everywhere who are committed to reaching their students. Most of these teachers are creating live video sessions and teaching their students. Though I am not certain, it seems like the teachers are using their valuable virtual “face-time” with students to teach them new stuff.  

But as I watched this, I was struck with how it could be done better. Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing these amazing teachers, but I have seen a better way for students to be reached. Online Flipped Learning is the ideal solution to help during the corona-virus crisis.  

The gist of the model is that the information transfer could happen using pre-recorded videos made by the teachers. Students review these on their own, and then valuable virtual class time can be re-imagined. The “face-to-face” time can be used for discussion, tutorials, Socratic seminars, clarification, games, and peer instruction. 

I have worked with a few online schools that have implemented the flipped model and have seen great results. Before they flipped, their “class time” (virtual) was used to teach students new stuff. It looked like a facetime where students were listening to their teacher teach passively. But when they flipped, they began to utilize a wide variety of tech tools that made their virtual face-to-face classes interactive and engaging. Students are learning more deeply and getting more out of each face-to-face time.  

Making this transition has not been easy for many teachers for a variety of reasons. One thing is that many teachers feel that they must “teach” the subject. Others just aren’t sure what to do if they aren’t teaching. What would my students do if they had a good exposure to the content before class? This not only requires a mindset shift but also learning new tools and strategies. How do you make an engaging introductory video? How do you create an engaging and interactive online experience for students who are not in front of you? All these issues have been solved and are being done around the world. But it takes a mindset change, some technical training, and some training in the best practices of Online Flipped Learning.

So I commend these teachers for their desire to reach every student even when they can’t see their students. But there is a better way.

I look forward to your comments. 



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Jon Bergmann
Jon Bergmann Bergmann
Jon Bergmann is one of the pioneers of the Flipped Classroom Movement. He is leading the worldwide adoption of flipped learning through the Flipped Learning Global Initiative (FLGI) He is working with governments, schools, corporations, and education non-profits. Jon has coordinated and guided flipped learning projects around the globe. Locations include: China, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, the Middle East, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Canada, South America, and the United States. Jon is the author of nine books including the bestselling book: Flip Your Classroom which has been translated into 13 languages. He is the founder of the global FlipCon conferences which are dynamic engaging events which inspire educators to transform their practice through flipped learning.

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