Improving on the traditional lecture with students teaching students

How ‘Flipping’ the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture

Dan Berrett

The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 19, 2012.

“Andrew P. Martin loves it when his lectures break out in chaos.

It happens frequently, when he asks the 80 students in his evolutionary-biology class at the University of Colorado at Boulder to work in small groups to solve a problem, or when he asks them to persuade one another that the answer they arrived at before class is correct.

When they start working together, his students rarely stay in their seats, which are bolted to the floor. Instead they gather in the hallway or in the aisles, or spill toward the front of the room, where the professor typically stands.

Mr. Martin, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, drops in on the discussions, asking and answering questions, and hearing where students are stumped. “Students are effectively educating each other,” he says of the din that overtakes his room. “It means they’re in control, and not me.”

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