Flipping the arts classroom
Because some teachers lack expertise in the broad range of creative arts disciplines, a different approach to implementing arts within the classroom environment may be needed. One useful approach may be to 'flip the classroom' for arts programming. In such a classroom, the teacher utilises and gains from the expertise of a wide range of resources. This helps to activate the potential of creative arts to engage students in a variety of forms of making and responding, which extend beyond written text.
In the flipped arts classroom, the teacher makes use of a blended learning approach drawing upon a wealth of creative arts expertise that exists online, the skills of arts specialist teachers within their school or school district, as well as self-recorded lessons and art activity demonstrations in areas where they are more confident. With this approach, content gets collected and archived over time and is made available 24/7, freeing up in-class delivery of arts programs for more individualised support. This support would ideally coincide with the teacher becoming actively involved in providing feedback, accessing thinking, supporting challenging goals and monitoring learning. This may take the pressure off of the generalist classroom teacher to gain expertise in the broad range of creative arts disciplines, to instead allow them to utilise existing expertise from the community or from elsewhere within the school. The role of the teacher in a flipped arts classroom then becomes more of a support or activator within the processes of making and responding.
Jon Bergmann, Jerry Overmyer and Brett Wilie (2011) provide a very useful description of the flipped classroom at 'The Flipped Class: Myths vs. Reality'.
In their discussion they identify that the flipped classroom frees up contact time between teachers and supports personalised learning for the student. The model reverses the typical lecture and homework elements of a course. The increasing use of mobile devices makes this format a reality in many schools. It makes use of new technologies and formats, like podcast and video, to enable students to become familiar with content in their own homes.
As a consequence, students take more responsibility for their own learning and are guided by the teacher. It also allows teachers to spend class time focusing on students' learning and understanding rather than delivering content as one-way instructional activity. It requires careful organisation by teachers, but the resources can be archived and used more than once.
Students who miss lessons can easily capture content in their own time. It does not mean students spend their lessons staring at a computer screen, working in isolation or completing the equivalent of an online course with limited guidance or support.