Ask the Experts: The Flipped Classroom Model

Q: After hearing fellow teachers rave about the flipped classroom model, I’m thinking of adopting it myself. Do you think it could work for dance classes?

A: The flipped classroom model holds that instead of using class time for lectures, students learn new content online on their own, as “homework”—freeing up class time for what used to be homework, or assigned problems dealing with that lesson. This form of learning allows the teacher to interact with and guide students more in the classroom. The flipped classroom just may be the future of education, and it is ideal for dance educators: You can use class time for meaningful experiential learning instead.

Dance history and dance appreciation classes are definitely a place to take advantage of this model. There are plenty of resources online for your video needs. YouTube is, of course, the central place to find video, but some online archives are now available. One of the best resources is Jacob’s Pillow’s Dance Interactive (dance

interactive.jacobspillow.org). Though the videos are short, the archive covers great choreographers in many genres from as far back as the 1930s. Digital Dance Archives (dance-archives.ac.uk) has some amazing footage from the past 100 years of British dance. [Editor’s note: DT’s History Lesson Plan and Video of the Month are great resources for learning outside the classroom, too.]

You can video yourself lecturing about a particular subject, too, and use that as your video footage. iTunes U, which I’ve written about before, can be used to synthesize your written materials and link to those videos. You can set up a blog (I prefer Edublog these days), or use Edmodo with its Facebook-like interface to create forums for discussions. Now class time is reserved just for dancing!

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends School in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty of the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Photo courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld

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