Flipped RE Lesson

So materials are preparedready for my design thinking lesson with year 8 next week, next experiment?  a trial of a flipped lesson with my year 9 class.

First of all if you don’t know what a flipped lesson is let me explain. Basically it involves the content you’d normally deliver in class being delivered for homework using a video or audio file, then the lesson is freed up for higher level thinking work.

I am convinced that with our student’s ease of access to knowledge or googleable information that our lessons must change to respond to this. We are now preparing our students for a world where the skills we develop in them are far more central to their success than any knowledge that we impart. After all anyone can do a quick search to discover , for example, who Plato was and what his allegory was about, but it is less easy to explore the reality of this world and the possibility of absolute truth. Synthesis, analysis, creativity these are what I want to enable my students to do, collaboration and critical thinking are the skills I want my lessons to embed in them. Flipped lessons are one possible way to step in this direction.

Having thought about this for a long time I was finally pushed into action when I watched this TED talk  the pursuit of ignorance

The outcome then is a year 9 flipped lesson on PLato’s allegory of the cave. The content part of the lesson is being delivered through this video that I created and uploaded onto youtube . Whilst the video is not perfect I think its a good place to start. The link to the video is below. (Note after the animation part of the youtube video you need to fast forward it by about 1minute as I left the end of the animation screen on for too long)

So my plan is this. Next week one year 9 RE class will be set the flipped video plus a worksheet for homework. When they come to their lesson after that they will be engaged in discussion work based on their homework. I shouldn’t need to go through the process of teaching the allegory or introducing key words. My other year 9 group will however not get this homework and so they will have the lesson delivered the way that I usually do. This will be very content driven.

Once I have taught both lessons in a fortnights time I plan to compare the outcomes by levelling the pieces of work both classes produce. It is already seemingly obvious that the flipped class should produce higher level work but we shall see.

So far the workload has been about equal for both lessons. The video took about an hour to produce plus conversion and upload time. In addition to this I have taken about another 30 minutes generating a homework worksheet to go with the video. The lesson that follows it requires very little material preparation from me. This time spent in preparation is about equal to the time I’d spend producing a more traditional lesson anyway. If the outcome is as positive as I predict it would be a fairly simple step to switch to having more flipped lessons in our department.

I suppose my end vision would be to have students involved in co-construction of lessons with them delivering the content part of their lessons in this flipped style. This is probably a fair way off but “without a vision the people perish”!

I shall post again on this once I have delivered the lessons and assessed the outcomes, examples of student’s work will be included in that post.


About Learning to Teach Lorraine Abbott

Deputy Headteacher in a Surrey School Author for Hodder Education
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