Flipped classroom renovates mindset.

Creating a culture that is student centric & student regulated.

The Flip Class “renovates” the classroom mindset by removing pre-conceived notions (old baggage) of what students “should” be doing at school (sitting in rows, taking notes, filling in worksheets). This change is not a static, one time application; rather it is a dynamic and evolving process for both the learner and teacher. This process allows for a shift from the pre-conceived notion many students have that traditional school activities ARE learning ones (because they have done them in school) to  selecting and using strategies that meet the needs of the learner (giving everyone in the learning environment a “new set of glasses” to differentiate “school activities” from learning ones). These pre-conceived ideas about learning are especially pervasive and prevalent amongst high school students and in high functioning students (they know how school works but this does mean they know how learning works and this makes them very uncomfortable as they have the most to lose).

Classroom culture matters.

Classroom culture is no longer “flavoured” by the specific content or by the teacher persona but by the learners (with teacher as a learner as well). Authentic learning “tastes” new and may be a flavour that not everyone will like or enjoy after the first taste. For example, the first time you eat Indian food, you might not like it! Becoming comfortable with deep learning is a process that happens slowly over a period of time and is not a one-time application. It is not: “Today we will learn how to learn, and OK all done!” Students, over a period of time become accustomed to the new “flavour” and feel of learning (like when you get used to a new food or a new exercise routine). Students in a supported, safe and interactive environment, become familiar and comfortable with what learning looks like, feels like, sounds like, rather than: “Biology class is where I take notes all day and fill out worksheets”,  or “Biology class is when I zone out and imagine my weekend plans.”

Learning about learning, is similar to learning a language, it happens best when you are fully immersed in a new and stimulating environment (like travelling to France to learn French) but at the same time requires you to feel safe and comfortable (like a home stay while in France).

Flip class is a dynamic transition that is simultaneously deeply immersive but at the same time allows for gradual development of learning skills for the student (they become a self- regulating learners rather than teacher or externally regulated).

2wedges (2)
We can imagine the Flip Class as a continuum where teachers and students can safely transition from a highly externally regulated environment to one where students become more comfortable and competent at deep learning.

This fully immersive nature of the flipped classroom provides impetus for change (i.e. when you go to foreign country you must at least try to learn the new language). The change appears less like “work” and prevents slipping back into old habits and patterns of how we “do school.” People (teens and teachers alike) very seldom choose to change when an easier, more comfortable and tried and true pattern is readily available.

Creates a growth medium in which other learning strategies can grow and thrive.

If you plant seeds in the wrong type of soil or in the wrong climatic conditions they do not grow. Planting UBD, PBL or Inquiry into a traditional classroom dynamic is a top down approach; “we will do this to student and they will learn.” Rather the Flip Class develops a student mindset that is open, whereby learning strategies can grow and emerge from the learner when appropriate and sustainable. Over time learners can become inquiry driven, over time learners can identify and work to solve problems, over time students can appreciate and understand why seeing the big picture will help guide their learning.

Creates an environment that focuses on the learning rather than on the content.

The Flipped Classroom provides daily opportunities for students to find entry points into the content for themselves, as it is about their learning and the learning is emergent, authentic and owned by learner.

For flipped classroom to succeed it necessitates the creation a community of learners (for teachers and students) rather than a chain of command.

“If we want real change, lasting change, if we want back the power, the pride, the soaring achievement that is an exceptional public education, then the revolution begins with us.”

Rebecca Mieliwock

2012 National Teacher of the Year

7 thoughts on “Flipped classroom renovates mindset.

  1. Great insights – awesome post!

    Using many flipclass ideas. I don’t think I can ever go back to the old school again. Lecturing for 45 min would would fry my brain in pure numbness.

    It does take some time to get used to, but if students start see that they are actually producing real, tangible work, the buy ins do happen. Some take longer than others (especially when they have had everything spoon fed to them since grade 1!).

    Keep rocking it. Good inspiration for tomorrow!

    • Yes, weaning students, off of spoon feeding is hard work. Students need to be activated before they seem ready/able to grow and engage. Some brave souls (students) are ready to jump right in and change (which makes my heart sing), others take months to budge (stubborn ones) but in the end it seems all are ready to grow and change, I just need to always remember (be reminded) not to give up on the process.


  2. Carolyn…

    I think in education, we often try to simplify things and give it a name. I also really believe you give the “flipped” model way too much credit. When I look at the list of changes in the post… the flipped has done NONE of them… and YOU and your students have done all of them. This is not about a model, this is about a teacher embracing change and taking risks with her students.

    Someone once said to me, “if you are doing something well, don’t give it a name”. I think for you, this echoes so true. I see the great things that you are doing and also you trying to define this as a box called “flipped”.

    You are modeling effective assessment practices, learning principles, collaborative classroom, student voice and relationships (and so much else). My push for you is to move away from labelling this as “flipped” and giving far too much credit to the model and start to take more credit for what YOU have done – share the stories of the successes and challenges of the learners (you and the students).

    When the word “flipped” is used, your teaching philosophy gets lumped into a box that contains many varieties of teaching practices. Someone can say they have “flipped” their classroom and have a whole different (less effective) learning experience for their students than the stories you have shared.

    As you know, I am a huge fan of you as a teacher, the changes you have made, as well as the leadership you show in BC Education. Your original idea to flip the class in the start may have been a tipping point for change… but the practices you are using now is all about a teacher passionate in finding ways to best create an effective learning environment in our current system.

    I have said this before but I think “flipped” does not do justice to all your efforts.

    Thank you for all you do for students and educators in BC

    • Hey Chris, such a good solid comment, had to think on it all day.

      I have mixed feelings around what flipped class is and is not, where it ends and where my own personal spin on it begins.

      3 thoughts:

      1. Definitions do not have to limit a person – You could be defined as a Principal of an elementary school. This definition tells the world what you do in a nut shell (quick and easy for all to understand). However I know (and many others know too) that you are WAY more than a principal (or for that matter a title). You are among other things; a mentor for many, a connector of like minded’s, a voice for change around the province and across North America. Principal might be where your role in education begins, but it most certainly does not define where you end.

      2. Ownership – Over the course of my career I have attended Pro-D’s where an “expert” told me how I should do things; this never worked or lasted. Flip class was the first time, when someone said: “I don’t have the answers, but we are trying to figure it out together” and “Do what is right for your kids,follow your instinct, finally “Here is a way (a method) that you can use to renovate your practice, within the existing school system”. For the first time, I was empowered to figure out with the collaborative support of a active community how to transition and build a classroom of my making. I can’t help feeling, regardless of what flip class is to you or to anyone else, a deep sense of ownership over flip class and consequently, it might not be exactly the same for everyone. I am OK with that.

      3. Serious traction is required for serious change – Going up a steep muddy hill? You are going to need some serious tires to grab into that mud and pull your vehicle to the top. Trying to move a static deeply entrenched practice forward? You are going to need some serious momentum in terms of community, collaboration, and cooperation. All aspects provided with flip class. Flip class had the big tires that I needed to get me up that first HUGE hill.

      As always, I am thankful for your leadership and for providing such sharp insight into many topics!

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