Before we begin

Why this blog?

I’ve decided to start this blog to record my quest to flip my Classical Studies classroom. I’m hoping that, by keeping it, I’ll be able to engage more critically with the various bits and pieces that I read, reflect on and then store in the back of my head, as well as track my progress more easily.

Why flipping?

I’ve read a lot about the flipped classroom and I can really see the value in changing the way I do things. In my first year of teaching Classical Studies, I started off in a very lecture-like style, going over content in class and then trying to get the students to do more difficult activities which required higher-level thinking at home. However the less able students really struggled with these more complex tasks, and I think all students would gain more from discussions and activities in class where they can build on the simpler factual knowledge they have obtained. I also think that flipping really helps with the NCEA system of assessment, where students have to examine, evaluate and analyse content rather than just recall it.

Where am I at?

This year, I attempted to flip my Y12 and Y13 Classical Studies classes. I recorded Keynotes as video lectures, and shared them with the students via Facebook. We then built on this content in class by doing activities in class like discussions and source material analysis. It wasn’t entirely successful – more on this later! – but I think things were promising enough that I’d like to pursue it.

Where do I want to go?

As I prepare for next year, I would like to build on my progress and learn from my mistakes. Hopefully I can cut out the teething problems that I had in my first year of flipping and have a more successful second year. The key things I want to improve are:

  • my management of the flipped classroom – making sure that students engage with the content at home and come to class prepared.
  • my in-class activities – these were not always meaningful and at times I let the students have too much say in what they did, making for some lazy lessons! I want to be able to help them achieve a deeper level of understanding in class.
  • my differentiation – flipping provides an ideal opportunity for students to pursue their own interests at their own pace. I did not take full advantage of this in 2015, so next year I will aim to provide a wider variety of options and help students to achieve their own goals, in their own ways.