What if you flipped your faculty meetings?

Dear Principals,

I’ve got a professional challenge for you: I want you to flip every faculty meeting during the 2012-2013 school year.

Doing so would be a breeze, I bet.  You could:

  1. Use YouTube’s video recorder and your laptop’s webcam to record 10-15 minute videos sharing all of the important content that you normally share during faculty meetings.
  2. Ask faculty members to use simple question charts like this one to track their own personal thinking while watching your videos the day before your meeting is scheduled.
  3. Break your staff up into cross-discipline and grade level table groups during your actual faculty meetings to wrestle with the questions that THEY came up with while watching your videos.
  4. Spend the final 10 minutes making any key points that you HAVE to deliver in person and/or allowing table groups to share their final reactions to the content shared in your videos.

What’s beautiful about flipping your faculty meetings is you are modeling an instructional practice that you’d like to see spreading in your classrooms. Flipping empowers students, giving them ownership over the direction of their learning — and that feels good whether you’re 12 or 27.

My bet is that teachers will enjoy your faculty meetings WAY more when the keys to the conversation are turned over to them.  More importantly, my bet is that teachers will be WAY less intimidated by the notion of flipping the classroom when they see that even their curmudgeonly old bossman can pull it off.

I also like that flipped faculty meetings become places where cross-departmental and grade level conversations can actually happen.

The truth is that most schools are incredibly isolated places simply because there’s no time for meeting with people beyond your core learning teams. If dude isn’t in the room next to mine, the chances I’m going to hunt him down for a deep and meaningful conversation when I’ve got three thousand papers to grade is about zero.

And faculty meetings as their currently structured — 30-45 minutes once a month where information is delivered instead of created — do little to make those kinds of cross-conversations possible even when everyone is sitting in the same room with each other.

But if they’re flipped — if the information that needs to be delivered is consumed before the meeting even begins — there’s PLENTY of time for teachers to learn from — and to build relationships with — peers who work in different departments or on different hallways.

#suhweet

The moral of this story is that we CAN’T be surprised by teachers who run quiet classrooms where lecture is the norm and empowering learners is the exception when those same teachers sit silently listening in faculty meetings for decades on end.

The first step in changing learning environments for kids is changing learning environments for teachers — and the most common learning environment for teachers is still the faculty meeting. They are powerful opportunities for principals to serve as instructional leaders, proving that new practices like flipping ARE possible.

So whaddya’ think?

Is this doable?

____________________________

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