– Dan Jones –
Recently, I was asked about my flipped classroom and why it works the way it does. I responded, “It’s not a part of what I do, it is who I am, and that’s why I do it.” The more I thought about that statement, the more it struck me to my core. Flipped Learning has become an extension of who I am. It is no longer only what I do in my classroom; it has become the lens through which I look at my world; it is part of my identity. What allowed Flipped Learning to move me from practitioner to Flipped Learning evangelist?
The introduction of the Global Elements of Effective Flipped Learning (GEEFL) was sort of an awakening moment. Learning that 100 educators from 49 countries had come together to create something so powerful and so meaningful meant that Flipped Learning would be forever changed. For so long, we had been feeling our way through Flipped Learning instructional, planning, and implementation practices. Gone are the days of doing it my way or your way. One hundred individuals from across the globe were able to reach a consensus on 189 best practices for implementing Flipped Learning effectively. The GEEFL set a standard for best practices in all aspects of Flipped Learning. It showed us not only how to do it, but it told us why it was important to do it, and do it well. We now have a tool we can use to validate or improve what we do in our classroom.
As we plan lessons or units within our classroom, the very first action we should take is to ask, “Does what I am planning align with the GEEFL?” Everything we do within our classroom — as well as what we plan for our students to do in the individual space — needs to be evaluated by the GEEFL. To be able to know everything we do within our flipped environment is best practice that moves us forward with such confidence, such assurance that we are doing it right. Planning lessons according to the elements means we are starting on a more solid foundation than ever before.
Recently, my lesson plans went to a whole new level because of the Global Elements of Effective Flipped Learning. I have started to include the different elements as a way to show my administrators the thought process and purposeful planning that goes into each and every aspect of my classroom. Knowing why the lesson includes this or that means that I am able to give a justification for my structures, my implementations. I am able to give, not a reason, but 189 reasons for my methods.
The GEEFL is not isolated to planning lessons. Students also need to be informed about the elements that are being used within the lesson or the study unit. Saga Briggs, author of the article How to Make Learning Relevant To Your Students (And Why It Is Crucial To Their Success), writes “Research shows that relevant learning means effective learning and that alone should be enough to get us rethinking our lesson plans. Relevant, meaningful activities that both engage students emotionally and connect with what they already know are what help build neural connections and long-term memory storage.” Gone are the days of “Why are we doing this?” Students no longer have to wonder if an activity connects to other information they are learning or if they are participating in busywork. Everything, from handouts to classroom discussions, is informed by and aligned with the GEEFL. Showing students that reasoning and meaning are behind everything we do in the classroom allows them to see a greater purpose, thus developing greater student engagement. According to the University of Washington, “Research has demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills, and promotes meaningful learning experiences. Instructors who adopt a student-centered approach to instruction increase opportunities for student engagement, which then helps everyone more successfully achieve the course’s learning objectives.”
Bring the elements into your own identity, and then allow the elements to flow out of your core. The more you use them, the more you engage them, the more you allow them to permeate your thought processes, you will see a transformation within that moves Flipped Learning from what you do to an extension of who you are.