In general the flipped-classroom principles really resonate with me both as a student and a teacher. Is a learner, I generally feel pretty confident about the material that I have just read, but it is not until I have to actively interact with that content that I am able to see where my understanding is shaky and where I really cement my knowledge. I’m also mindful of the fact that mine isn’t the only class students are taking so working in time at the beginning of class to refresh their memory and bring their focus to the salient points before moving into a deeper exploration of the material is important. Of course different student learning styles and background experiences can make this class format challenging. For this reason in particular, regular course evaluations are important to ensure that all students are being served by the class structure. This could mean that something is missing, or that I’m doing something in class that isn’t actually benefiting students. In my mid-course evaluation I am able to break down the class components and see which may be most and least helpful for students. I would also like to have an open anonymous form on the class or my own website where students can reach out to me about concerns or frustrations without concern about my immediate response or impact on their grade.
Along the lines of a flipped classroom, I try to make the most of our in-class time. Farm field trips are an integral component of any course where we are integrating theoretical content with real world applications. When we aren’t actually in the field, I think that having students use their hands to write and draw on the white or black boards in the classroom as part of small group discussions, can be a very effective way to stimulate connections. This is an area of my in-class practice that I would like to develop more in the future.