Flipping the Education Script

Asynchronous lectures and in-class work may boost learning

By Liz Richards 

BATAVIA, N.Y.—When David Porter, a Regents and AP chemistry teacher at Oakfield-Alabama Central High School, first flipped his classroom, he thought he’d created something new.

“I honestly thought I invented this,” he said in a recent Zoom interview.

Five years ago, Porter had a student who had to physically leave school for a time due to extenuating circumstances. The student did not want to miss classes.

Porter began audio-recording his live class lectures and sending them to the student via email along with a supporting note packet. It worked.

If asynchronous teaching was effective for one student, Porter wondered, “Why can’t it work for everybody else?”

He started small, teaching one unit of one class asynchronously as a personal experiment.

Today, all of his Regents chemistry classes incorporate elements of asynchronous learning. And Porter completed his master’s thesis on the concept of flipped learning.

Porter did not actually invent the model educators now call a flipped classroom. That title is believed to go to two high-school chemistry teachers in Colorado who published the 2012 book “Flip Your Classroom.”

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Paving a Path for Post-COVID Learning

How schools are prioritizing students’ and teachers’ wellbeing

by Liz Richards 

BATAVIA, N.Y.—The city schools here have prioritized one major aspect of students’ lives in the last year: their wellbeing.

Creative education solutions can be seen all across New York State as educators adapt to a difficult moment. This upstate district is showing how a concept called Social Emotional Learning improves school culture.

Emphasizing the process has helped some teachers in the Batavia City School District feel more connected to their students. It also may be helping students stay on track amid the disruptions of the pandemic.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, the premier resource for Social Emotional Learning curriculum, defines SEL as “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.”

The concept came out of psychiatrist William Glasser’s Choice Theory, the idea that humans have five basic needs and from those come personal choices and individual sense of personal responsibility.

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