The true power of flipped teaching is unleashed when the instructor also executes the course using a backward design.
The backward design is commonly used in professional and technical education. The instructor identifies the desirable student learning outcomes, and then designs learning activities that will produce these outcomes. It’s called backward design because the goals and activities are usually identified in the reverse chronological order.
Think about this: If the goal of a math class is for the students to become independent problem-solvers, which would help them more: lectures or coached practices? If the goal is for students to be abstract thinkers, what would the instructor do?
The backward design is NOT about which way of teaching is better. It is about being mindful and outcome-oriented in teaching, being effective and creative, and deploying ALL the instructional tools available.
For example, when I flip a math class on the topic of, say Integration by Parts, I start by setting the goals:
- Exit goals (Stage 3): Students understand the theory and can solve various types of problems.
- Classroom goals (Stage 2): Students master 4 advanced types of problems.
- Pre-class goals (Stage 1): Student understands the theory and 2 base examples.
(Notice that the stages are considered in the backward order, and that each stage helps students progress onto the next one, from pre-class to classroom to exit.)
I then choose activities:
- Exit activities (Stage 3): Check-out quiz or a tiny amount of follow-up exercises.
- Classroom activities (Stage 2): Group discussion. Short talk on subtle stuff.
- Pre-class activities (Stage 1): Video lessons. Guided notes. Check-in quiz.
When instructors adopts a backward design, their focus naturally shifts from content material (I have to talk about A,B and C) to learning outcomes (I make sure students can do X, Y and Z).
Next: (6) Re-imagining Homework
Dr. Ben Weng