Flipping my A2 Coursework…

I have used a flippedlearning approach with my A2 coursework for the last couple of years and think that this course lends itself to a flippedlearning approach more than any other.

I started teaching the Arab-Israeli conflict 1900-2001 for the Edexcel course 3 years ago with little more than a copy of Michael Scott Baumamns excellent book on the topic from the Access to History series, a reading list and a willingness to learn! During that first very stressful year I desperately tried to cram enough information into my lessons and homeworks to prepare the students to write their coursework essays. I will admit that I massively struggled, both to meet the looming coursework deadline and to not spend more than the allotted time actually teaching them. It’s fair to say I left far too little time focusing on how to actually research and answer the questions.

After scraping my students through this bruising first year I decided I needed to rethink my approach to the coursework and I decided several things.

1. The students should start their coursework immediately on completing AS in June do they had more time to prepare

2. The students would spend the summer time reading and researching the key information themselves

3. No one would be allowed back into the lessons in September unless they had completed the reading

4. The lessons in September would be purely focused on consolidation and analysis

So how would this work? I decided that I would give each students a copy of the textbook along with a structured note taking booklet complete with higher order extension questions. To make the topics more interesting I also decided to include some WS based on some relevant YouTube documentaries I had found. They were then given their remaining lessons and the holidays to complete this.

What have I learned along the way? In many ways this has been my purest attempt at flippedlearning and it has taught me quite a lot. Some has been purely administrative (students lose the textbooks, most work better when supervised) but others have been more insightful. For example just giving the students the booklets has not been enough. They need the teacher to stop and talk to them and consolidate their understanding at regular intervals. Also the first lessons in September are really important to allow space and activities to draw together what they have learned.

However most importantly it has had a marked improvement on the coursework with work handed in far earlier, students research skills and individual interests being piqued by independent work, and, perhaps most importantly results improving.

It has led me to think why not use this approach more often and I have concluded that wouldn’t be suitable. These are A2 students and this is a chance to prepare them for university, but it is probably not the most efficient use of time. It also suits a broad course like the coursework which perhaps requires less reinforcement of key information as the teacher can have the information available at all times. However here it has been very helpful and now I would not teach the new coursework any other way!

To view my Arab-Israeli coursework resources please go to – https://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/arab-israeli-conflict-resources-11056844

I have also used the same #flippedlearning approach when teaching China in the C20th for A2 coursework. Documentary WS available here – https://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resources/search/?q=Flipyourhistory%20china&s=-createdDate&country=GB 

To follow me on Twitter go to @flipyourhistory

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