Kit Betts-Masters



For a few years I've been experimenting with flipped learning and blended learning with varying degrees of success.  I can say one thing, it has certainly improved student enthusiasm for physics, and student responsibility for learning!


It's not a panacea though, as some teachers will make it sound like. Here are a few things I have learned:


YouTube videos are not for the classroom!  Just as you want to get away from lecturing students, 30 kids watching a video is twice as bad!

You've got to train kids to learn from videos!  Learning at home empowers students, but there are also loads of distractions at home.  Kids are used to interacting with multiple screens at once, you need to tell them to focus on the video, like they would a textbook.  Questions that you can check are often a great way to do this.


Take your time. It won't happen overnight, and at first a flipped classroom can be a confusing uncomfortable place, for both teacher and student.  Keep constantly reminding students of the aims of what there are doing.


Mix it up, or blend it! Don't be afraid to slide in and out of flipped style and more traditional style!  One group might work better in one way than another.  One topic might be more suited to flipped learning than another.


Hey, why not give making videos a go yourself?  It's a new challenge and you can definitely do it.  I suggest starting with topic that you think you have the best explanation for, film it and share it with the world.  Or what about making a video for that one bit of advice that you are just saying over and over again to your classes, film it and you can just say "you need to watch that video... again!"




More generally, Physics, especially for non specialists can be daunting.  It requires a different way of thinking by the teacher as well as the students.


Make four things top of your agenda, in all lessons:


Proportionality! Focus on the maths, even when we're looking at wordy explanations, one thing increases another thing increases.  This will usually be summed up in a formula somewhere, the more practice students get at using and manipulating these the better!


Physical Law! Some things are the same always, no matter what or where. These are Physical laws, they are born out time and time again.  Topics revolve around these laws!  And examiners will most likely have these laws in mind when they are writing questions.  Make a big deal of them in your teaching.


Misconceptions!  Kids learn about their Physical environment over their entire life, this leads to a whole lot of constructions which students will see as truths, challenge these, and make clear reference to how evidence should force them to reconsider their ideas.


Accuracy! Accuracy in language is crucial, so much of science is discussed incorrectly in the media, this leads to a fluency in unscientific language.  Students know what they mean when they talk about generating energy, but we know the idea of making energy completely breaks the law of conservation of energy!  Physics examiners are a very picky bunch.



I know you'll be striving to be the best Physics teacher that you can be, so here are some things to remember as you plan your lessons and work in your classroom.


Good Physics Teachers....

...use experiment to establish proportionality.  Eliciting the difference between direct and inverse.

...use algebra. Algebra is a shortcut.  They use correct symbols, and carefully teach the difference between quantity and unit.

...demonstrate and refer to Laws of Physics. And give them prominence in lessons and schemes of lessons.

...teach resilience with calculations by practice and constant reference to examboard formula sheet.

...can explain why the practical didn't work!

...use consistent units.

...are precise in their explanations and use of terminology.

...inspire interest in the fundamental and the infinite.


Try it, get stuck in and learn along with your students.  Find that passion that you want them to have.  Be confident in your ability to solve problems and work with the practical apparatus that you have at the school.  And feel good about asking for help and advice!