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What I Learned From Flipping Meetings

December 18, 2015

As a teacher, I always held myself to the standard of answering the question, “Would I want my child in my classroom?” But students aren’t the only ones learning during the school day. Now that I’m an administrator, I am responsible for managing my department, which includes modeling new technology and explaining resources during our team meetings. I started asking myself, “Would I want to be in my department meeting?”

Everyone talks about the “flipped classroom,” but I have started flipping portions of my department meetings. I flip the portion that would be considered “lecture style.” The flip portion is information about teaching or questioning strategies, increasing student engagement, information about John Hattie’s and Marzano’s research, etc. Each time I flip, I try to use a different resource – for example, Zaption or Screencast-o-matic or even Youtube. I show my staff members a resource they can utilize, how they can customize it for their classroom, and opportunities to evaluate the resource’s strengths and weaknesses (is it anonymous, can I keep data, is it easily accessible, etc).

When I started this journey of flipping, the teachers walked in to the meeting and would not talk, except to whisper to each other. By the second meeting, the conversations starting flowing. By the third meeting, I had teachers choose my department meeting over other departments. All my teachers had an opportunity to be involved in discussion, ask open-ended/higher-order questions, and I had imaginative and extensive use of technology. As one staff member was leaving, after coming to my department meeting for the first time, he commented, “Wow this is very different from the other department I attend.”

Reflecting on my department meetings since the beginning of the year I have seen a huge increase in participation, engagement, and involvement. I do think as a teacher, I would rather come to my department meetings then others I have been to in the past. Could I make them better? Of course, and I hope I will as I continue to reflect on my effectiveness. 

Angela Mirretti is a division chair for Special Education outside of Chicago, Illinois.