American philosopher, psychologist, and educational crusader John Dewey often wrote about education reform, and although he died in 1952, several recurrent themes in his writings have special significance for modern teachers.
Dewey continually argued that education and learning were social and interactive processes. He also believed that students thrive in an environment where they are allowed to experience and interact with the curriculum and that all students should have the opportunity to take part in their own learning.
My beliefs as an educator mirror those of Mr. Dewey’s: Learning should be centered on the student, not the teacher. And isn’t that really what flipped learning is all about? It’s about compelling teachers like me to reflect on our practice and rethink how we reach our students. It’s about encouraging students to set the pace so that truly individualized instruction takes place. It’s about stirring teachers and students alike to change the way they’ve always done things.
As a teacher at Granby Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, I orchestrated a more interactive style of instruction, including my own version of reversed teaching methodology—or “flipped instruction”—in which students taught students. This new and improved approach, in which I served as a facilitator rather than a sage on the stage, raised academic outcomes, produced a greater sense of collaboration between classmates, and heightened the level of student engagement.
(Next page: How students teach each other in McGuire’s classes)