Flipped Learning: A PDS Literacy Partnership

Dr. Vickie Johnston, Program Coordinator-Special Education Florida Gulf Coast University, vjohnston@fgcu.edu
Jamie Mackereth, Reading Specialist Pinewoods Elementary Fort Myers, FL, JamieLMa@LeeSchools.net

While many literacy methods courses are taught in a traditional university classroom and require students to complete a specific number of field experience hours, preservice teachers from the College of Education at Florida Gulf Coast University participated in their literacy methods classes in a unique way— using a flipped classroom approach.

The flipped learning model is an inverted, student-centered learning approach. In flipped learning, what was formerly done in class is now done as homework and what was done as homework is now done in the classroom. Class activities and what is assigned as “homework” will vary widely between various flipped classroom models; consequently, there is no single model for implementing a flipped learning approach.

In our flipped learning model, preservice teachers met at a PDS partner school and were required to facilitate literacy centers with kindergarten, first, or second grade students after spending the first hour shadowing and learning from the classroom teacher. After two hours in their assigned elementary classroom, these pre-service teachers meet with their university professor for class in the same PDS partner school. The PDS partner schools provided a classroom for this literacy methods instruction. During this class time, the inclusion of a variety of stakeholders created an opportunity for discussion about best practices in literacy instruction and encouraged quality instruction in literacy teaching and application.

All the stakeholders involved teamed up to develop a vision for the implementation of this flipped learning model, incorporating research-based literacy instruction and field experience application while embracing the essentials principles associated with PDS. We developed a school-university culture that was committed to the preparation of future educators and embraced their active engagement in the school community and developed a shared commitment to innovative and reflective practice by all participants. Faculty at all partner schools contributed to delivering quality innovative learning communities and collaborated on instruction in the area of best practices and the role that assessment plays in driving instruction in an elementary classroom. Teachers, preservice teachers, and university faculty reflected on classroom effectiveness through reflective logs, surveys, and evaluation rubrics.

This unique flipped learning PDS partnership provided unique opportunities for our preservice teachers. They participated in a special read-aloud day in which they dressed as their favorite book character and delivered an interactive read-aloud to the elementary students, increasing student engagement and establishing an environment that encouraged and supported reading, after school book clubs, and participation in competitive local “Battle of the Books”. This PDS collaboration also allowed our preservice teachers to learn about programs unique to our partner schools, such as Thinking Maps which is a creative process using graphic organizers for independently learning more about their subject matter. In order to implement quality literacy instruction, there is too much content to cover and not enough time to prepare preservice teachers to acquire both content knowledge and pedagogy in a traditional university classroom. Our program was developed to respond to this need for both content and application for preservice teachers by using a flipped learning model.

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