A flipped approach to better teaching, and a better school – Jon Tait, United Kingdom
“Education is still caught in a bit of a time warp,” says Jon Tait. “Our children are able to learn how to build, how to create, how to construct and design villages, towns and whole cities on things like Minecraft. They are able to communicate and collaborate with students on the same street, in the same town and across the world via things like xBox Live. Yet as teachers, it saddens me that we still, in so many classrooms, bring our students in and say, ‘Put that technology aside. Put it back in your bags. We’re going to do some ‘real learning’ with your pens and pencils today.”
Tait’s solution to the time warp? Flipping the classroom. And while his role as Deputy Headmaster now means that he’s not in a classroom per se, that hasn’t stopped him from innovating.
“As a school leader, I now do less and less teaching with students and more coaching and leading of the teachers in my school,” says Tait. “One of the innovative ways I have used technology to engage teachers in their own professional development is to use a flipped learning approach to professional development. All of our weekly sessions are now run on a flipped basis, meaning that teachers have access to a short video/screencast about the session topic approximately 48 hours before the session is due to be delivered.”
Tait, known for his 2015 TED Talk, “The Future of Learning,” tells us that this flipped approach enables the sessions to be far more practical and discussion-based between peers, rather than a lecture-style format that teachers have been accustomed to for far too long. Even better? Staff and educators love it.
“This has had significant impact on not only the quality of professional development that our staff are now receiving, but also the number of sessions that they are attending,” adds Tait. “Since I introduced this approach, voluntary attendance has gone through the roof and we have nearly doubled the annual hours logged by staff. Staff are now far more engaged in their own professional development and the videos that we create are now available ‘on demand’ for professional coaching throughout the year.”
You can read even more about his approach on his very informative blog.
Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Jon Tait.
What inspired you to become an educator?
I was lucky enough to attend a great school when I was growing up that had some amazing teachers who inspired me to be the best I could be. But it wasn’t until a few years after I left university that I realized education was my true calling.
After working as a sports coach for several years and seeing the impact I could have on young people and their lives, I knew that I could give so much more than for just 60 minutes on the field.
What was a defining moment in your career when you felt proudest to be an educator?
I felt most proud to be an educator when I stood on the world-renowned TED stage in 2015 to talk to business leaders and company CEO’s about “The Future of Learning,”
Having watched and been inspired by countless TED Talks from leading experts and public speakers from across the globe, it was incredible to tell my own story. My 12 minutes on stage enabled me to describe the amazing opportunities that we can give our students every day and the jaw dropping future that lies ahead of our classrooms.
What’s the biggest obstacle you or your country or region has had to overcome, or will have to overcome, to ensure a quality education for students?
Right now in the UK, school budgets are being squeezed even further. At the same time, school leaders are being charged with continually improving the service that they provide for the children and families in their community.
Many schools are starting to form alliances and academy trusts to try and become stronger together in times of austerity. The sharing of expertise and costs is now becoming an integral part of today’s school leadership, not only to bring about improved outcomes, but also to survive.
What are you most excited about for the future? What is your biggest hope for today’s students?
Technology is changing so fast, and students can do today what the students of yesterday could only dream of. It is such an exciting time to be charged with shaping the future of education because of the incredible learning experiences that we can give our children.
About Jon Tait
Acklam Grange School
Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
- Blog URL: jontait.com
- Birthplace: Darlington, United Kingdom
- Website I check every day: Twitter
- Favorite childhood memory: Playing out in the summer holidays without a care in the world.
- Favorite book: Enid Blyton’s ”Famous Five” series
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: My Surface Pro.
- What is the best advice you have ever received? “Play hard, work hard.”…my mum’s last words to me as I left for University.