Earlier today the Think Center posted to a faculty learning community on the flipped classroom. We feel this information is pertinent to all faculty and instructors, so we are sharing here as well. Hope you enjoy!
It’s Spring Break. Students have hit the road for their much anticipated break from books while faculty members are most likely doing the exact same thing– clicking their heels with the joys of one week of freedom! Before relaxation mode sets in too deeply, it might be helpful for the rest of your semester to use some of this “time-off” as a period of reflection and personal assessment for your course(s).
Take some time to reflect.
We are officially half way through the semester, but that does not mean that the rest is downhill from here. Having a week off near the middle of the semester allows you to take time to assess how things are going within your classroom. Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your individual courses:
If you are you trying something new (flipped classroom), how are students reacting?
What are some of the hangups you’ve experienced so far?
What has gone really well?
What do you feel that you do well that students have a positive reaction to in the classroom?
In what areas do you feel you could use improvement?
Make changes– if needed.
From the information you’ve gained from your reflections, look ahead to what you have planned. Are there any tweaks you can make to the assignments or activities you have on the agenda? You don’t have to throw out anything, but make adjustments as you see fit. Did you try something at the beginning of the semester that could have gone better or just differently? Make adjustments, the experience does not have to be same– you have a great influence on what happens in the classroom. Observing how students react and process information can help with the planning and implementation of instruction.
Reassess the timeline of the remainder of the semester.
At Southern Miss we have experienced some setbacks that could not be escaped– does anyone remember the ice-pocalypse? Having two days taken out of the semester sent a few faculty members in a scramble to rearrange their schedule. The Think Center was all a-flurry with rescheduling missed class meetings, so we can only imagine the work across campus. From those cold icy days off, we learned that schedules can be reworked and students can be flexible with the changes. Take another look at the rest of your semester, are there some assignments that can be rearranged to enhance the flow of knowledge occurring? If so make them, and then be sure to clearly communicate those changes when classes start back.
We encourage students to take notes throughout the semester, but we can’t forget to take notes ourselves. As you experiment in the classroom, keep an active reflection of how the new assignments go in the classroom. What changes would you make? How did students react? What worked really well? Keeping your notes on the different assignments as they are being carried out in the classroom will help you next semester or next year when you start to plan for another semester. You will have notes and reflections taken with a fresh eye instead of trying to remember what happened after too much time has lapsed.
While we are all ready for a break from the hectic schedule of the semester, taking a few moments in our break to reflect, plan, and adjust will help alleviate some of the busyness that will return after Spring Break is over.
What are you doing to enhance your classroom for the remainder of the semester?
Link to the Flipped Forum Blog: http://flippedforum.blogspot.com/2014/03/before-you-spring-break-to-reflect.html