11: Discussion

The flipped learning model not only inverts content, but roles as well. Instruction is shifted from instructor-focused to learner-centered. The students are responsible for knowledge construction. They create, participate in and evaluate their learning. Teachers adopt a supportive, but far from passive role.

What is the teacher’s job in the flipped classroom?

1. Promote discussion between members of the group within the context of practice

2. Provide feedback when students are going off track or quiet

3. Continually observe and make adjustments as appropriate.


Will the students really teach each other?


If students attained the foundational knowledge outside of class and the classroom activity is properly created, there is usually spontaneously participation. When this happens, the instructor can simply step out of the way and observe. Dr. Eric Mazur speaks of the power of peers instructing one another in his highly-watched talk “Confessions of a Converted Lecturer.” (The link is at the bottom.)

Students will debate, analyze and synthesize the information, using class time to deepen their understanding of the material. Be prepared for a bit of chaos and noise in your class!

What if there is no discussion or students are going off track?

The teacher will need to promote dialogue amongst the group. You can ask the group members to

  • explain or elaborate their ideas,
  • provide the rationale for their decisions,
  • ask for alternative methods to approach the problem,
  • link these concepts to previous material by creating a concept map
  • reflect on how well the group is completing the assignment predict outcomes, and
  • generate hypotheses.

Instructors, in your classroom group sessions, move from being the “sage on the stage” to “the guide on the side” (King 1993). You will no longer be the focus of attention in front of the class.


A few last pieces of advice:

  • Avoid the temptation to lecture in class, this work has already been done in your videos.
  • Resist the urge to complete the work for students, let them struggle with the problems.
  • You don’t need to cover everything, the activity of critical thinking is much more important.
  • Lead students so that they can discover the answers themselves.

As Dr. Mazur said, our job should “shift [the] focus from teaching to helping students learn.” Video link below:

Tip 12

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