I’m trying an experiment this semester in the college classes I teach. In various circles it’s called a “flipped” or an “inverted” classroom, a term I’m not completely comfortable with, but it’s a handy term at the moment.
While relatively new, it is rooted in ideas and practices that are not, and it seems to me to be good communication practice, recognizing the strengths of various forms and building on them.
The flipping background
A flipped (or inverted) class swaps out what goes on in the classroom and what goes on outside the classroom.
Traditionally, since the Middle Ages students listen to a professor lecture in class, and do application work (otherwise called “homework”) outside class. Reading could fall into either category.
Almost everyone has heard that the lecture is passé, exemplified in the now-cliché, “Be the guide on the side rather than the sage on the stage.” I’ve taken a related approach, demonstrated in workshops I’ve done for teachers around the theme, “Stop Lecturing and Start Speaking.” When you want to master detail, you do better to work with the information in written form. When you want the big picture, “out loud” excels. That partly has to do with the way we process information, and also with the interactive nature of “out loud.”