Exposing students to an innovative classroom prepares them for the challenges of the future. Without a doubt, the environment benefits everyone. However, innovative classrooms don’t just happen. For this reason, they need an innovative teacher to see it in their mind and make it a reality. There are methods and strategies waiting to be rediscovered and refreshed to meet the needs of your students.
For example, the thesis behind the Flipped Classroom has been around for a long time. It wasn’t until two teachers (Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams) around 2007 to harnessed the power of the available technology to make it more efficient. The strategy was praised because students were asked to learn prior to entering the classroom, which added more opportunities during class time. However, in the 90s, Eric Mazur is credited with developing the idea of Peer Instruction.
Peer Instruction was born out of the idea that learning could go even deeper if students entered the room with prior knowledge. Instead of watching videos, students were asked to pair or group up to reflect on questions prior to the next class. Notice the leap between Peer Instruction and the Flipped Classroom. Ultimately, this leap happened because innovative teachers were at work. Based on the story of the Flipped Classroom, I submit to you 3 tips to sharpen your innovative teacher skills.
1. Always be willing to ask, “How can it be better?”
This mindset uncovers many hidden innovations that increase student achievement and add efficiency. Bergmann and Sams noticed that there was an issue of how to catch up students who missed the previous class. They knew that there had to be a better way to catch these students up in a more efficient manner. Stay observant of the systems in your classroom and don’t’ be afraid to judge your lesson plans even if you think they are great. How can they be better?
2. Pay attention to your students. They will show you the way.
Bergmann and Sams realized that they were spending so much time reteaching lessons and students were missing out on other opportunities. Later, when they started recording their lectures, it had the desired result of saving time catching up absent students. Additionally, they noticed that students who didn’t miss the class were also benefiting from the recorded lectures. This revelation told them that they had stumbled onto a transformational innovation.
3. Don’t wait for admin. You are the teacher. Change begins with you.
Bergmann shares the story of how an assistant principal came to him and asked if he was expecting someone for a local tv station. Bergmann was absolutely confused. A reporter was there to ask about this wonderful innovation spreading around the world known as a flipped classroom. Amazing things were happening in the classroom and the building administration were pleased because problems were being identified and solved in the classroom. Overall, the answers to many (not all) challenges to students achievement can be found in the classroom.
What are your thoughts? What else does it take to be an innovative teacher? Add to the list in the comments below.
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