Posts Tagged ‘Dewey’

To Flip or Not To Flip?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Wow! I am seriously considering this Flipped-Classroom thing! This is exactly what John Dewey discusses in Experience and Education! The flipped classroom allows for the class time to be used for creating real experiences in which students are interacting, creating, and actually doing something. Lectures, which are boring but sometimes necessary, can be stopped, paused, rewound, and revisited at the students’ convenience and patience-level at home. Personally, I like to think of myself as a successful student, but I would love the opportunity to stop and start lectures at my will– I just need little breaks sometimes, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In addition, think how this type of classroom experience would affect school relationships– teacher and students, student-to-student, and even teachers and other teachers– I feel like school would become a less stressful space, and transform into a place that everyone looks forward to going to. Instead of associating school with boredom, students would see the school building as a place of fun and connection and creativity energy.

I decided to pretend that I currently have a flipped classroom. This fake-class is an 11th grade English class, and we are currently working on college admissions essays. Our in-class activity was completing a brainstorming worksheet individually, which is just a series of personal questions that ask the students to reflect on their experiences, and then doing a pair-and-share. Following the pair-and-share, students will conduct mock interviews: one student as college admissions counselor and the other as a prospective student. The “counselor” will have a sheet of set questions to ask the student, and then after one interview round the students will switch positions.

The “homework” would be a 5 minute lecture from me (the teacher) about writing the introduction paragraph for an admissions essay. After viewing the lecture, students would be required to view sample essays and listen to my Vocaroo recording that goes along with it. Students would be asked to come to class the next day prepared with notes and observations on these sample essays, and we would launch into writing their introduction paragraphs and peer-workshopping them in class. It’s a cycle! See? I love this stuff.

Cyclical learning is a cornerstone of John Dewey’s philosophy of education; or, to use his words, ““experience lives on in further experience” (Dewey, 1938, p. 27). I couldn’t have said it better myself. I love this flipped classroom format because it allows for learning to happen in a circle, rather than in a linear fashion; there is no beginning or end, just a continuous experience. I hate to seem self-important, but I couldn’t help but think to of a blog post I wrote in my first education course (Foundations with our own Dr. Coffman). The post is entitled “My Teaching Philosophy,” and in it I describe how cyclical learning is important to me; I don’t want to teach the school year as “the beginning, the middle, the end,” but rather an ever-renewing opportunity for growth and creation– like recycling. Besides, when you’re always focused on the end, you never learn how to appreciate the right-now, and that is no way to live (inside or outside of school). My mind is really churning now, I appreciate the inspiration.


Dewey, John. (1938). Experience and Education. New York, NY: Touchstone.