From flipped to ‘the double flipped’ idea! | By Aneela Alam, Dr Farhana Khurshid

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From flipped to ‘the double flipped’ idea!

THE flipped classroom also known as the inverted classroom is one of the emerging instructional strategy that gained popularity all over the world in a very short period.

Flipped classroom idea is a form of blended learning that utilizes both online and face to face interaction.

It basically shifts the class work- homework paradigm. The students are given some instructional material, mainly in the form of videos, as home task.

They have to watch it before coming for the class session. Then during class time focus is mainly on the application of the concepts where students get engaged in the activity based learning during group work.

It helps in focusing more on the advanced levels of the Bloom’s taxonomy that is application, evaluation and creation.

The flipped classroom idea emerged as an effort of two school science school teachers, Bergman and Sams in 2007.

They recorded their lectures and then sent it to the students so they may view it before coming for the class.

Aim was to make them the independent learners who did not come into the class like a blank slate.

The students watched the lectures as home-task, write down their observation and come prepared for the classroom discussion.

During the class they were more engaged in Hands-on practice, activity-based learning, and collaboration during group work.

It helped in making the students more independent learners.  This idea got familiarity all over the world very soon that now it has been used for teaching almost all subjects at all levels.

We have been working with the Flipped classroom idea, a form of blended learning, since 2017.

Where it was first applied at school level to teach the science subject. It came up with outstanding results in improving students’ learning.

We have also found out that before introducing any new technique/strategy/method in the classroom there is a need to first train the teachers regarding that idea so they may know how to make it a part of the actual classroom.

Then during the COVID-19 situation when online and blended learning was left as the only option to run the education system, that thought get more strengthened.

World has experienced huge shift in the education sector for the past two years. The pandemic called “COVID-19” have put the things upside down.

The educational community were left at the mercy of online mode of education in that educational chaos.

The possibility to keep alive the education system was only made possible through opting the online or blended learning.

Pakistan have taken this crisis as an opportunity to run its education system through Blended or Hybrid mode of education that was being neglected for a long time.

It started with an online mode and then moved towards a hybrid mode gradually where learning took place through both online and face-to-face interaction.

Many challenges arose during the past two years journey of online and blended learning in Pakistan but the most highlighted issue was whether our teachers are prepared enough to work in such environment?

Are they competent enough to teach through online or blended learning? Are they knowledgeable enough to integrate ICT into teaching?

Are they familiar enough with the latest technological developments in the field of education?

Unfortunately, it was found out that we try to keep our education system up to date by implementing latest technological developments, strategies, methods or techniques into the classrooms without realizing that there is a need to first prepare our teachers as they are the actual classroom practitioners.

In the context of “Flipped Classroom Idea”, the thought arise to work on the teachers’ professional development training programs to first prepare the teachers to utilize the updated instructional methods/techniques/strategies in their practices.

So, they may be able to deal with the learner who is well-versed with technology. Here comes the idea of “Double Flipped”!

The concept of “Double Flipped” was presented by Kehoe, Schofield, Branigan and Wilmore in 2018.

Their focus was to teach the teachers through the flipped classroom instructional strategy. Because it was believed that before making any new approach/strategy/method a part of the actual classroom practices, there is a need to first prepare the practitioners to utilize it.

Having these common goals, we decided to first introduce the flipped classroom idea before the teachers!

Hence, the Flipped classroom instructional strategy was shared with the teachers twice. At first, three training workshops were designed that focused on familiarizing the secondary school teachers with the flipped classroom idea.

Secondly, the training program was flipped itself so they may have a practical experience of how the flipped classroom works.

The Double Flipped Professional Development Training Program was flipped in a way that the participant teachers were asked to watch all the provided instructional material at home as home task, before coming for the next day session.

All the related content was shared with the participants through an e-book. An e-book was developed by utilizing Flip PDF Professional Software.

During the sessions, focus was to apply the learned concepts through hands-on practice or activity-based learning.

It centred on moving from independent learning to group learning, from knowledge construction to hands-on practice and from co-operative learning to collaborative learning.

After getting much expertise about utilizing the flipped classroom idea, the participants tried to flip their actual classroom for one month.

After which, they came back for a follow-up workshop to share their practical classroom experiences with each other.

Such a training program was much appreciated and acknowledged by all the program participants.

Although much research has been conducted where the flipped classroom instructional strategy is used in actual classrooms in Pakistani context.

But this was the first time where the idea of “Double Flipped” was tried out to train the secondary school teachers.

It worked in two ways. First, they get familiarity with the flipped classroom idea and then it was utilized for their own professional development too.

Later on, the participants flipped their actual classrooms as well. This experience with the Flipped and the Double Flipped idea strengthen the thought that mere adoption of any technological development cannot bring revolution in the education system over-night.

It actually demands well-prepared, skilful and competent teachers who can utilize such techniques or strategies in accordance with the classroom situations.

It is concluded after this experience that as new theories, models and strategies are emerging rapidly in the education sector so are the challenges in the classroom setting.

So there is always a need to prepare the teachers according to the latest trends, innovations, challenges and demands.

In the context of flipped classroom, there is a need to first train the teachers to work in the flipped classroom so they are prepared enough to implement this concept in the actual classroom.

It is highly recommended to make this idea a part of the teachers’ professional development training programs first before introducing it for classroom implementation.

In today’s world where hybrid or blended learning is taking place, such training programs will not only guide the teachers to improve their teaching but also assist the learners to improve their learning.

Hence, it can be a better option to improve the quality of the teaching learning process that is being questionable by the world today!

—The writers are contributing columnist.