What if You Flipped Your Staff Meetings?

Written by Behrman House Staff, 01 of August, 2012
By Terry Kaye

Most of us know about flipping the classroom.
Now how about flipping faculty meetings?

Bill Ferriter, a 6th grade language arts teacher in North Carolina, suggests that principals (and, by extrapolation, heads of school and education directors) send teachers the information in advance, and then spend the time in the staff meeting sharing ideas with one another and building relationships among colleagues.

For example, if you are planning to discuss ways to engage students in the classroom, you might take the following steps:
  1. Send teachers links to videos from Edutopia and other education sites showing scenes from engaging classes, or post them in a faculty “class” in the Online Learning Center (OLC). You can also use YouTube’s video recorder and your tablet or laptop’s webcam to record 10-15 minute videos sharing your own suggestions for grabbing and holding students’ attention.
  2. Post Word documents with techniques, photographs of engaged students, or pdfs with how to’s in the faculty OLC class.
  3. Ask teachers to summarize and pose questions while watching the videos and reading the materials before the scheduled meeting.
  4. Group your staff by grade or discipline (Hebrew or Judaica) in the meeting to wrestle with the questions that they came up with, as well as adding their own ideas.
  5. Spend the final minutes making any key points that you want to deliver and/or allowing table groups to share their group’s reactions to the content they saw in the advance materials.
What are the benefits of the flipped staff meeting?
  1. Flipping empowers teachers to direct the path of their own learning.
  2. Since teachers are entering the staff meetings or professional learning event already equipped with the information, they can spend the time together making personal meaning rather than absorbing information. It’s a great way to build your teacher community!
  3. Teachers are trying out an instructional practice that could be suitable in their own classrooms. They are experiencing what their students would.
Flipping the staff meeting has the potential to make the hours you have together rich with sharing, purposeful, and highly engaging.
Terry Kaye is Director of Training and Educational Services at Behrman House. She can be reached at terry@behrmanhouse.com.