When I was studying for my teaching degree in history, there was a big change going on in the classrooms. We were taught to forget about the old model of teaching for 45 or 60 minutes straight, but instead to divide each lesson into blocks of ten minutes or so. Ten minutes of teaching, ten minutes of independent work, ten minutes of talking about the home work, etc. The variety in activities was supposed to keep the students’ attention…or make the time simply go faster.

We’re on the brink of a new revolution in teaching with the concept of the flipped classroom (see the infographic below). The underlying idea here is that students watch the ‘lessons’ online at home or somewhere else, and then discuss them in the classroom and via online communications. Schools are experimenting with this new model and with promising results so far (aside from a few practical complications like the fact that not all students have a computer and/or internet access).

TED announced recently that they have created a new website to help teachers use educational TED videos (and all YouTube videos for that matter) for the flipped classroom model as well. This opens up huge possibilities for using any kind of video to teach and discuss in several ways.

What could this mean for youth ministry, where we often stick to the even older concepts of teaching/preaching for 30+ minutes straight? Is there anyway we could apply this flipped classroom model to youth ministry and make it work to disciple our students more effectively, engage them more with the Bible and the topics we want to discuss?

Is anyone doing this already? Do you see any problems (aside from the fact that obviously relationships remain of crucial importance in discipling our students)?. I’ll certainly be thinking about how we could make this work and I’d love to hear some other opinions.

Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media