learn is to teach

The objectives of the reversed class. It is clear that at the start of the 21st century , a majority of students want to be more active in acquiring their knowledge . These students would particularly like to learn at their own pace and interact differently with their teachers. Based on this observation, a reflection was carried out at the Catholic University of Lille (University and Multidisciplinary Federation of Lille), EESPIG of the ULNE which led its 5 faculties in 2012 to a program entitled “Horizon 2020″to encourage its teachers to engage in pedagogical innovation. The reversed class which is presented here is one of the experiments which is integrated into this system of transformation of university teaching practices.

The flipped class

The principle of the reversed class. The flipped class can be defined as a DIY or “  do it yourself ” teaching method  . It is resolutely innovative compared to the inverted classes usually experienced in the world of education. Indeed, it does not provide learners with the content of the course, which represents a real revolution for what is expected of a “lectured course”.

This particularly original method was devised 4 years ago for a course in molecular genetics intended for 3rd year undergraduate biology students. Fully lecture-based teaching is abandoned in favor of a co-elaborative methodology.whose goal is to get learners out of a certain passivity to put them in an active learning situation. The change in posture is bilateral . On the one hand, students pass from the state of “consumers” to that of “constructors of knowledge”.

They will build the course without any document being provided to them. On the other hand, the teacher goes from the production and the transmission of the course to the accompaniment of his students in the construction of their knowledge… until playing the role of student!

The production of the course by the students.

At first, the students are gathered around the teacher who will present the approach to them. As with any educational innovation process, it is necessary to explain to them the reason for a method that invites them to learn differently. This exchange time takes about 2 hours, a few days before the first lesson. Not to do so would be tantamount to taking the risk that they reject the principle and do not motivate themselves from the start. We explain to them that the course will no longer be given in an academic way , but that they will have to build it by themselves and in teams of 6 to 7 students.These teams are built on an equal level in terms of scientific prerequisites, abilities to build chapters and transmit them to others for a good understanding of all. It is a decisive “casting” which makes it possible to avoid too high a concentration per team of “good” or “bad” students (students more or less well adapted to the academic mode of teaching), but also of “leaders” or “followers” ​​(students with more or less expansive behavior). Teams that work independently can interact with each other during work sessions. The chapters of the course are developed by the students according to a precise protocol with a pre-established and calibrated deliverable. The expected work is both collective and individual.Each student must participate with his group in the construction of several chapters and assimilate those made by the others. This pedagogy is fully collaborative. It takes place in a large room with several removable workstations (tables on wheels allowing the space to be arranged differently, chairs and stools, fixed computer workstations, flipchart and post-its, mobile boards with markers with indelible ink, projection, laptops and tablets for students, interactive whiteboard, Wi-Fi with very good speed, etc. that can each accommodate a group. It uses a set of IT platforms and tools(Google Drive, Facebook, Moodle, Twitter…), which allows students to publish their work “in the cloud” accessible by all.

The mode of animation is free in each group, but it is suggested that they share the responsibilities:

collection of information with discernment on the Internet, consultation of documents on the digital library in the network, verification of compliance with the deliverables (publication of the production on computer platform). Each session begins with a quarter of an hour generally devoted to questions, quizzes or other types of exercisesallowing interaction between teams. These exercises precede the DIY work which can be interrupted for collective times with oral presentations. This will involve, for example, focusing on a point of fundamental knowledge (brief presentation by the teacher, questions and answers, “turntable” method, mental maps, etc.) or answering questions collectively. At the end of the session, the production of each group is saved on the collaborative platform. Students can organize themselves during the week to develop it and prepare questions for the next session.

The teacher who becomes a student! It seems that the best way to learn is to teach! So why not ask students to deliver the course content they have built themselves, a good way to check their level of learning? They are thus asked to “come up on the platform” and give the course. This allows the teacher to realize the understanding of the contents of the chapters by his students, especially on the fundamentals. The teacher who has become a “student” will play the role of the candid . Everyone forms a circle around him. The voluntary students of each group make the courseto the blackboard. They present the most important parts of their chapter. They are only given 10 to 15 minutes. It’s time for explanations. Then comes that of the questions during which the “student” teacher does not hesitate to question his “teachers” as if he did not understand what is explained to him.

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