F&P Teaching: At the crossroads between Flipped, MI and Creative teaching
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
(“The Road Not Taken”, Robert Frost, Mountain Interval, 1916)
Frost’s poem illustrates so well the journey any teacher, educator can walk across when we decide to teach more efficiently. The more the society makes progress, the more the students are lost. They are more and more demanding and also more and more passive facing learning. They are accustomed to lectures and their main objective remains to leave school with copy books full of written texts. But it doesn’t always mean they have learnt something. To fight against this gradual passivity, it is important to redefine teaching processes. And when we do that, we are faced with a multitude of possibilities. The only thing is not to choose one but to pick up in some what defines ourselves as teachers, educators following our own personality and experiences.
For my part, I have always tried to answer three basic questions:
• How can we maintain students’ motivation?
• How can we deal with heterogeneous groups?
• How can we develop students’ own creativity and self-involvement?
And I have found two possible directions I managed to join together in what I call “F’n’P” (Flipped and Patched) teaching. This term is so obvious to me because students are like some patches, all different, with varied shapes, sizes, textures which can be put together to create a wonderful patchwork. However all these identities need a common framework, so here flipped teaching.
Flipped teaching by its reversal of perspectives enables to create more engagement, more motivation and then more self-confidence. Of course most of the criticisms concerning flipped teaching are linked to technological limits and that is why I don’t focus my flipped process always on internet, videos…But it’s sometimes true that this teaching process reaches its limits on students’ implication in their own autonomy, which is very often difficult to build. So flipped teaching acts as the pattern of our “patchwork”
But to build this one, MI (Multiple Intelligence) considerations can act as topstiched seams all around each patch(namely student). The idea of framing teaching-learning process by an individualized approach, concerning the types of intelligence can solve a lot of problems by showing to each student his/her own strengths and how to use them to create their own patch. Each student is unique but can look like others by some aspects like visual-spatial intelligence, or musical intelligence, for instance. And this idea can help any teacher, educator to find the most suitable activities to cast light on each student’s talent and then recreate more self-confidence and thus more engagement in the learning process.
And finally all this has to be wrapped in a problem-solving orientation in order to give students the possibility to create permanent and huge bridges between school and real life.
In my teaching English as a second language in France, I always try to create real-life situations and transform students into potential journalists, for instance, to create a magazine about the dangers of media, or into volunteers fighting for some rights in a demonstration to debate about ethical issues, or even into shop directors advertising their shops in a shopping centre to question the impact of advertising techniques…
It is then important to take the road “the less travelled by” in order to show to students that they can create their own road by investing blank spaces and colouring them with their own creative patches and to enable them to have alternatives to the main road which is no more the only one to follow but which is then chosen to be followed if we can recognize ourselves into it and which is not taken if another road seems potentially more personal.