One of the newest growing trends in education involves flipping classrooms at a school so that educators prepare online lessons for students to learn new concepts at home, and use classrooms as places where students practice and consolidate their learning. I find this concept intriguing and I do see the benefits; however, I also see the downfalls should an educational framework and accompanying planners not be in place to support teachers. First and foremost is the risk of a disconnect between the different subject areas, secondly the possibility that only select subjects at a school are flipped, and lastly is the likelihood of insufficient differentiated/scaffolded resources for use at home and in the classroom. I believe that these issues can be solved if a school implements a customized version of the proposed Flipped Classroom Framework below:
The above educational framework is generalized as the specifics depend on the individual school. Everything stems from the center – the school’s vision, which defines its philosophy, values, curriculums, etc. Moving outwards from the middle are four subject branches (a school will most likely have more than four subjects – this number was chosen for simplicity’s sake). The subject branches start with “online” because new concepts will first be introduced to students via online resources, and the three-way arrows represent the differentiation/scaffolding of the online content. Once the online materials have been viewed by students, the differentiated/scaffolded activities prepared to consolidate learning will be introduced in class. The circular arrows between the online and in-class learning of a subject represents the continuous cycle of teaching and learning. (home, class, home, class, etc.).
As I mentioned, in addition to solving the issue of differentiating and scaffolding, the Flipped Classroom Framework also addresses how a school can still maintain tight connections between subject areas, and this is depicted by the inner and outer rings of connecting arrows. In order to accomplish this cohesion, transparency and team work would be required amongst mainstream and specialist teachers. For example, imagine that online resources introducing new concepts in math and science are presented to students concurrently, and that these concepts are interconnected! With the above framework model, this would absolutely be possible!
To take things one step further, what if ELL teachers and learning support staff could also be connected to learning happening both online and in the classroom? Again, openness and collaboration amongst staff would need to be in place for this to occur, but envision mainstream and specialist teachers sharing their upcoming online/in class resources with ELL and learning support staff in advance, allowing these teachers to create differentiated/scaffolded videos and materials that would accommodate various student needs! As noted in the Flipped Classroom Framework, the three-way arrows stemming from online and in-class subjects represent differentiation and scaffolding, and there is nothing to say that the teaching goals couldn’t be performed by ELL teachers and learning support staff.
The Flipped Classroom Framework would offer many benefits to any school looking to create a teaching culture in which all subject areas were flipped, and all staff would be collaboratively working towards a common vision. That being said, any educational framework is incomplete without the accompanying individualized teacher planners educators need to implement it. If your school wants to try a new transformational approach to teaching and learning contact us!
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The aim of an Educational Framework is to help a school realize its vision in its entirety; therefore, a school will never simply be handed over a framework and planners without first discussing how best to implement them. It is during these discussions that timetabling will be addressed, and recommendations made so that the designed Educational Framework can work for a school at its maximum potential, as in the cases below:
The Language Framework
The vision behind The Language Framework included several elements, one of which was to streamline the English and Dutch curriculums as much as possible. The most effective way to do this was to schedule common prep times for the English and Dutch-stream teachers at each grade level to meet. By allowing them this time, they were able to plan their International Primary Curriculum (IPC), Language and Math units together and ensure that common objectives would be met across both streams. Although the planners that accompanied the Language Framework could have been completed by each teacher individually, it was through timetabling that the school’s vision to streamline curriculums could be achieved.
The Transitional Framework
The Transitional Framework was designed as part of a 14-week program to help Papuan students with limited or no English to transition to a university in America or another English-speaking country. With this in mind, the design of the timetable played an important role, and it was my recommendation that the best way to optimize student learning would be to have all classes that were taught in Bahasa Indonesia (the students’ native tongue) offered in the morning, and to repeat key concepts during Academic and Conversational English classes in the afternoon, as seen below.
Could the Transitional Framework still have worked without this schedule? Absolutely, but the impact made on student learning would not have been as great.
With every project taken on, we always aim to provide the best solutions possible for a school, and although having the flexibility to make the recommended changes to a timetable is ideal, if a school is unable to do so, the Educational Framework process can still be completed. Every effort will always be made to ensure the best possible outcomes! For more information about Educational Frameworks and how they can benefit your school, contact us.
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