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Flipping the Switch on Traditional Education

My name is Demetria Dixon and I teach World History I, World Cultures and 20th Century History in the High School. This is my second year at Al-Bayan, but my fourth year in Kuwait. I am originally from Dallas, Texas; however, I now live in Sydney, Australia with my husband and our infant son who keeps us quite busy. I have always had the desire to be an educator gaining my bachelor’s degree in Social Science Education and my master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. My eleven years within education thus far vary. I have worked at level one schools as well as level four and private schools as a classroom educator. I have also spent time in higher education in such roles as Registrar and Director of Compliance.

As of this year, I have really tried to incorporate the flipped classroom model. While it is a work in progress, requiring additional prep time, I am confident that the end result will be beneficial for our evolving learners. I have been and remain cognizant that I am training students for jobs that have yet to be created. In knowing this, it is important to maximize classroom time in an effort to not only teach content, but emphasize on skill building. I usually give reading assignments or powerpoints ahead of class. In class, through discussion we make meaning of that content and lastly, we apply it.

The flipped classroom is a blended learning strategy with the aim to improve student engagement and outcomes. It is not a new concept or a drive to promote technology; pedagogy is still very important. It can however be equated with pedagogies such as active learning, peer instruction, problem-based learning or any blended learning strategy that requires students to prepare learning before they meet and engage with their peers and myself. This model engages students and splits the accountability making the learning experience a partnership rather than a 20-40 minute lecture styled classroom.

Many of our students lead busy lives outside of school. We also have students that benefit from additional classroom time to gain help where needed. I consider it a blessing to teach such global learners. Why not take their experiences and knowledge while encompassing content to get real conversations going. Through this method, I get to know them better, we interact well and it pushes me as an educator to consistently develop.

Outside of continued networking with past and present colleagues, I frequent such websites as Edutopia, Edudemic and The University of Queensland who all offer free and reputable information regarding this model, it’s progression and researched results.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”. – Malcolm X


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