Partial Classroom Flip: Method of Enhancing Inclusive Participation during Classroom Discussions
I have taken time to explore ideas on ways to broaden participation within the classroom. I asked colleagues and browsed the internet. Firstly, participation is important in that it gives you an indication of how much students are engaged with the material you are presenting. Often in our classrooms, when we are lucky enough to have students asking and responding to questions, there are those few students who want to answer or ask all the questions. These are the extroverts of the class and are often in the minority. Furthermore these type of students have been labelled by their peers with tags such as; “discussion hogs”, “loud mouths”, “clever/smart ones”, “teacher’s pet”, “eager beavers” and many more. Instead of enhancing classroom participation, this results in a classroom conversation between the lecturer/teacher and one or a handful of students. Other students take a back seat, and are thus either comfortable playing a complacency role or are demotivated from participating in the classroom altogether. Out of several techniques identified, I have deduced a combination of the Partial Classroom Flip and two techniques that encourage inclusive participation:
Partial Classroom Flip: Encourage students to come to class prepared by partially flipping the classroom. Highlight to the students the aspects (providing them with the relevant learning resources) that are up for discussion prior to the lesson so that students have any opportunity to prepare for the classroom discussions. Preparing for class becomes embedded in the student’s day to day learning process. The assumption is that the more students are prepared for class, the more they will contribute in discussion activities. This method can be effective when combined with the any of the following two techniques.
- Group-discuss-share technique: Initially the teacher asks students to discuss the subject matter in pairs or groups. After a short period of discussions the students are supposed to report back on what their peers contributed, if pairs are used. If larger groups are used, the teacher can ask the group representative to report on what the group member, with the least contribution, mentioned during the discussion. The aim of this technique is to stimulate students to encourage their peers to contribute during discussions. A combination of encouragement from the teacher and motivation from student peers might result in the ‘quiet’ students being more participatory.
- Spotlighting: Many teachers are not in favour of putting students in the spotlight, however when students know that the teacher uses this technique they will always be alert, paying attention and ready to say something in the event that the teacher picks them to respond. The teacher motivates students by telling them that “there is no stupid answer or question, there is no one correct answer and the discussion is open for any views”. Always respond positively to students comments whilst directing them to correct answer. If a student cannot answer the question, ask them to ask a question instead. This technique assists in building student confidence and controls the discussion hogs.
If anyone tries or has tried any of the above, please share your experience and thoughts. There is comprehensive material on flipping the classroom all over the internet, so I encourage you to identify it, chop it up and make it work for your classroom. Whether it works or not, sharing your experience can help others.