This week’s discussion is about learning culture which gives great importance to the roles of the teacher and students in the teaching-learning process. Traditionally, the teacher is considered the unique source of knowledge and information and as a result becomes central in students learning. In this approach students play a sub role, being receptive and dependable on what the teacher provides. On the other hand, flipped learning, proposes students as central in their learning. They should be active in their knowledge construction and evaluation of their progress. They are the principal character in their learning, leaving the teacher on a side, as a guide who provides resources and tools and creates the environment where for students can learn and develop.
In the following lines I will share my thoughts and experience regarding the statements on pillar two. Then I reflect on learning culture and finally state some questions in relation to teaching following the flipped learning approach.
Firstly, I am going to share my experience about giving students opportunities to engage in meaningful activities without the teacher being central. I consider I provide the environment for students to get involved in activities which have purpose and that are important for their learning, however, I have just questioned myself about whether students see the value of the activities they engaged in. I came to the conclusion that making students aware of the relevance of the activities is vital to have them involved. I have come to the conclusion that I need to work more on scaffolding activities and make them accessible to students as well as to differentiate them and give feedback. I think that I usually provide student with materials, resources and activities to construct their learning, but I am missing the scaffolding part. I think that I have taken for granted that students would know what to do. I recognize I need to work on improving my feedback, because I usually give feedback on the results but on the process. I just wonder about the time I need to focus on individual needs of each of my students to keep track of them and give feedback. I guest this is easier to do when teaching individually than in groups.
In regard to learning culture, from my point of view, the discussion should not be about whether we are able to learn on our own or not, but about when it is possible or when it is not. I consider we are all able to self –teach, but there is a variety of elements which determine our success on this approach to learning. Some of these elements may be: interest in the subject, the complexity of the content and our aptitude on it, resources and even time. I think the first thing we need to want to learn on our own is interest on the subject, without interest we won’t put effort or time into it. Let’s imagine we are interested on a certain topic but, what will happen if the subject is complex by nature or I determine it as so because I do not have aptitude on it. I will need to be assisted in finding the right resources and process to learn about it because if we find ourselves capable we might keep going, however if we find it complex we might get demotivated and quit.
I believe in in self-teaching, but I also consider there are things we learn in community or partnership. I think, for example, of learning a language and I come to the conclusion that there are things I can learn and understand on my own, but there are others, which by nature need to be developed in group, for example, the speaking ability.
As a conclusion, I would like to question if people who preach flipped learning have learnt something following this approach. I wonder if we can teach in a way we have not experimented on our own. Would we be able to understand the processes our students go through and the difficulties they face if we haven’t self-learn anything?