Dictate or Facilitate?

This will probably be the first of many posts directly or indirectly addressing the topic of flipped learning. It’s not going away. Even if the terminology changes, the underlying idea won’t change. Bolster student engagement, creativity, and self-directed learning.

Before we can even conceive of doing this in our classes, the instructors must view themselves and their students differently. Similar to technology, we can’t begin to make progress with this if we put ourselves on the sidelines and hope for the best. We need to get involved! On a large or small scale. At great depth or even shallow at first. We need to put theory into practice.

With that said, Heather Witten’s blog post drives this home by underscoring how important it is that teachers come to the realization that direct instruction and knowledge dissemination is only rewarding for so long. It loses its shininess. I also find it interesting that she refers to facilitating as a challenge. We are professionals. We are supposed to challenge ourselves and put ourselves in situations to be challenged. Otherwise, how will we grow? Thank you, Heather, for pointing this out.

If we don’t know where to start, then that in itself is a place to begin. Time to put the theory into practice and apply the technique of flipping to an actual learning environment. You need support. Get a group of people you work with together to tackle the problem head on. Reach out to others virtually, and start building your Professional Learning Network (PLN). Heather invites you to do this in the blog post. Join online communities of people through sites like EdWeb.net or the Flipped Learning community on Google+. Don’t forget about one of the founding fathers of flipped learning, Jon Bergmann. Check out his blog!

Begin to create an atmosphere where you have resources and people to support your transition to flipping. Most of all, picture yourself as a facilitator, not a dictator of content. Start asking yourself, does standing in front of a room talking at my students make me happy? Or has it lost its appeal? What is something small that I might change to get my students to ask more questions and think critically, rather than me cajoling them or delivering answers and information all the time? Start asking the right questions, and you’ll begin transforming yourself and your students. Partner with them as a learner and questioner.

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