Last night was “Meet the Teacher” or “Meet the Parents” night. I got to see many parents and talk with them about how my class is different.
Having been to different workshops run by well-known advocates of the flip, like Alan November and Jon Bergmann, I know that it is not just about the videos, but rather it is about maximizing the face-to-face time I have with students. This allows me to differentiate and individualize in-class instruction so that each student has an opportunity to be successful. I was able to convey this message to parents last night, and they were thrilled!
I explained that the videos were beneficial for many reasons: any student who is absent can quickly catch up, any student who has trouble paying attention can pause and rewind the video, and any student who wants to re-watch videos to study for tests has the ability to do so. I explained that I am either creating the videos myself, or finding them from reputable websites and watching them to make sure the material covered matches the curriculum.
I also explained that at the beginning of class, a question is asked that is related to the video, but goes a little above the concepts taught in the video. This will split the class into three groups: the students who understand and are able to apply concepts to new situations, the students who understand the basics but need help going beyond, and the students who have trouble with the basic concepts. I can group students according to their understanding and work with those that need my help, while letting the “masters” work on their own.
Based on this explanation, and my answers to a few questions they had, parents unanimously welcomed the idea of flipping the classroom and are excited to see the results. What an encouraging night!