--Originally published at Flipped Learning
In preparing for the upcoming semester, I had one of those deja vu moments. You know, one of those moments in which you catch yourself looking back on your career, feeling bad for those first students you ever taught. One of those moments where you knew you weren't at your greatest and wish you could have a do-over. This day, it was looking back on my first days of flipped learning ... wow did I have a lot to learn at that time.
While students at that time were eager to try this new approach to learning, I don't think I knew how hard it was going to be to prep for and find the right activities to support the various needs of all the students. I knew how to make the video lessons. I knew how to do a quick check for understanding. I even knew how to break up the students into groups to discuss and collaborate. What I quickly learned I didn't know ... how do I support all of the students simultaneously?
Unfortunately, the answer took quite some time to figure out - I DIDN'T NEED to have all the answers. In a flipped learning environment, the goal is for students to own their learning-to drive their own understanding through using questions, activities, and collaboration with classmates. What I needed was to have a better understanding of how to support students in the ownership of learning. To find contextualized, applicable resources for math that the students could use to support their learning. I also needed to structure the classroom environment in a way that would encourage and support that individual growth model.
I quickly learned I needed to be patient with the process. As long as I could support student learning through conversations, rapport, engagement, and activities, the students would learn. I needed to remind myself, I also would be learning along the way. Learning about new tools, new resources, new engagement strategies. While I wanted to perfect Flipped Learning right away, it was okay to take time to find the 'sweet spot'. I realized I needed to be okay with the process taking time.
At best, it took me three years to see a functioning classroom that engaged ALL students. I was finally in a groove that allowed me time to expand my resources, meet with struggling students more often, and encourage mastery of learning with each student. Three long, hard years of trial and error that lead me to realize - I'm not done learning. I'm going to continue to grow and learn from students, from other educators, and from myself. The most powerful lesson is to be patient ... keep student learning at the core and allow yourself time to learn and grow!