A team approach to blended and flipped

Sections

Introductions

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should:

  • Understand how to work with your school administration and other teachers.

  • Understand how to empower students.

  • Understand how to involve parents, guardians and carers.

  • Understand how to measure success.

You will also have an opportunity to engage with samples and examples of blended and flipped classroom ideas, plans and resources.

It takes a village!

Working collaboratively with the stakeholders in your students’ learning journey is essential for outcomes to be maximized.

This means we need to work with and involve:

  • our students

  • their parents, guardians and carers

  • the school leadership team

  • members of the school board, the governing body, or equivalent

  • teaching colleagues.

If your school environment does not currently use blended or flipped learning, it can be daunting if you are an ‘early adopter’ of a new instructional approach in your organization. However, someone has to be a pioneer—why not you?

On the other hand, if blended and flipped learning is already being used, you have an amazing opportunity to work with colleagues to improve the learning experience and outcomes for students.

Statistics

You are not alone in your blended and flipped learning journey. Research which was undertaken by Schoology, from August to September 2019, considered the responses from almost 17,000 education professionals, mainly from the USA. Responses showed that around 57% used blended learning and 26% used flipped learning instructional approaches across all year levels.

As the age of the students increased, the use of blended learning as an instructional approach increased to a maximum of 64% for students aged 15–18 years old. The same was generally true for flipped learning.

A collaborative approach

Educators know the benefits of student collaboration, but with demands on a teacher’s schedule, taking the time to collaborate with colleagues can be overlooked due to competing demands. Research undertaken by the District Administration Leadership Institute (February 2019) shows that between 50% and 75% of teachers plan and teach alone. Even if you do have a culture of collaboration, you may feel that individual teachers cannot influence the pedagogical direction or instructional methods your leadership team or school board endorse. However, there is a significant body of research that makes a clear link between collaboration and school improvement.

'Statistics from schools…clearly show the benefits of teacher collaboration. Not only does it foster a sense of community among teachers, it also encourages a critical review of instruction and classroom management. One of the most important benefits, however, is that teacher collaboration leads to overall school improvement.' The University of Texas (May 2016)

Working with school administrators

Most schools will have key strategic documents that map the priorities for the next one to five years. These are often linked to the financials of the organization—where and how the finite resources will be allocated to the infinite wants of the school community. Teachers at all levels can influence the culture and success of the school by developing:

  • Professional autonomy—setting high standards for themselves so they independently behave in the most professional way possible, whether it is ‘being noticed’ or not.

  • Decision capital—the capability of teachers to make effective judgments within their work. For example, how to deal with situations; judging the quality of student work; how to influence colleagues and teaching teams.

  • A commitment—both to building their expertise and influencing the well-being of themselves and colleagues.

  • A teacher voice—being prepared to express opinions and share experiences and expertise related to classroom practice, professional learning and pedagogy.

When implementing or expanding the use of blended and flipped learning, the institution must have established ways to provide the necessary resources and supports for students to engage.

Working with teaching colleagues

Imagine a situation where your professional development time is, at least in part, allocated to collaborative planning and the rewards you could achieve personally, let alone the benefits for your students.

Further reading

To find out more, read the following articles.

Empowering students

One of the challenges facing teachers is how to prepare students for jobs, careers and workplaces that don’t yet exist.

The aim of 21st-century education is to prepare independent, free-thinking, flexible citizens who have the skills necessary to contribute to the world of work. Students are exposed to and are expected to use different communication channels and media.

Skill

Description

Communication

Students are exposed to and are expected to use different communication channels and media.

Collaboration

Through discussion forums, the use of Wikis, peer reviews and class interactions students collaborate more widely.

Critical Thinking

As students are expected to covert the content shared with them in to understanding they are using critical thinking in all aspects of their learning.

Creativity

Working online gives students the opportunity to undertake research, present their understanding and collaborate in innovative ways.

How does empowerment align with blended and flipped learning?

There are generally accepted to be four cognitions of empowerment (Thomas and Velthouse 1990). A blended learning environment facilitates these more than either a face-to-face or fully online course:

  1. Choice—including an online learning component provides flexibility about when and where students can participate.

  2. Meaningfulness—students can learn using their preferred method which increases confidence and satisfaction.

  3. Competence—provides opportunities for students to be involved in decision-making and problem-solving.

  4. Impact—students in blended courses tend to perform better than their peers in fully online or face-to-face courses, hence have a greater sense of succeeding (Academia.edu, 2018).

However, we must prepare our students for the shift from a traditional to a blended or flipped learning environment, as discussed in lesson 2.1.

Further reading

To find out more, read the following article.

Parents and guardians

As we are transitioning from a more traditional teaching approach to blended and flipped learning, we need to involve the parents, guardians and carers of our students.

How you choose to communicate with these important stakeholders will depend on your individual situation. However, what you will communicate will have common themes.