Flipping Out!

The concept behind a flipped classrooms or reverse instruction is brand new to me and I’m not sure I have fully grasped the idea yet. I’m in the processing stages. Perhaps by the end of this post I’ll have done enough thinking out loud to come to a clear decision. Right now I am trying to figure out what big ideas really separates a flipped classroom today from a classroom 20, 30 years ago or more in which an ordinary instructional video or filmstrip was used by a teacher and viewed by students to introduce key educational concepts. A flipped classroom is an old idea done in new ways. New tools and technology has made it much more accessible than in the past and no longer is class time taken up watching the instructional video. Now every student has access to the video or vodcast at any time. The learning tasks can be done at home with a flipped classroom enabling students to apply what they’ve learned during “real” class time and as teachers we get to cut to the chase so to speak. Creating activities that challenge and extend the learning through individualized instruction and differentiation utilizing actual instructional time. Our role as a facilitator for students grows in this kind of classroom environment and can flourish because hypothetically we now have the time to do so better.

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Okay, so a flipped classroom is already looking better to me. Now how as an art teacher can I successfully implement a flipped classroom or reverse instruction. The website The Flipped Classroom Network has an abundance of resources available to teachers and covers many subjects. However, what it does not have a lot of ideas for is flipping the visual arts classroom.  An Internet search led me to very little additional information.  In one article I came across in School Construction News former art university art instructor, Marvin Bartel says that flipping the classroom in art programs throughout the United States may actually teach art more effectively and at a time where arts programs are suffering due to economic restraints be a way to lesson the monetary strain.

So what will reverse instruction look like in my classroom then? Most certainly I can see it assisting me in being able to develop students artistic skills outside of the classroom. Through vodcast at home students could really sit down and work through techniques until they felt comfortable and accomplished prior to returning to the art room. Being able to work without the stigma of “your artwork looks so much better than mine” would be huge for student entering upper elementary and middle school where students are beginning to search for personal identities through the arts, sports, and school in general. Working in this manner may also instill a passion and life long appreciation for the arts. Having the classroom time to then really just sit down and work individually with students, helping create a lesson that best works for them and that they can feel successful with would be extremely rewarding for me as a teacher. It looks like I’ll just have to take a stab at it and hope this is what it’s all about.


  • February 18, 2012 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    Glad you could see some relevance to your classroom with this idea. One of our art teachers at YIS, Frank Curkovic, uses the flipped classroom model a lot with concrete skills that need a lot of practice. I’m sure he would be happy to share his ideas with you.

  • March 8, 2012 - 11:58 am | Permalink

    That would be great! I would love to hear about some of his successes. I have struggled finding examples of how a flipped classroom can be used in the art room.

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