Sunday, April 6, 2014

Classe Capovolta: The Flipped Classroom in Parma, Italy 6 March 2014 in La Republica newspaper

The following article appeared in La Republica newspaper on 6 March 2014


Article by Valerio Mammone

CLASSROOM A third of high school " - Pacioli D'Annunzio" , in Fidenza , there is no chair . The students are seated around four round tables and are not silent a moment. Yet it is the most innovative classroom of this school in the province of Parma. The institute is pioneering a new method of teaching. "THE Flipped classroom" , in Italian the “class capovolto .” 

The method is born in the United States and began to spread to Italy : it has been adopted mainly in middle schools , such as the Institute including Cassino , and in high school, such as the Institute Tosi Busto Arsizio and high school Joy of Piacenza . In a few days , at the University of Padua begin an advanced course devoted to the " Flipped classroom" , which is open to teachers of all levels , from universities to primary schools.

To be " upside down " are two typical moments of the day for each student:
the lecture with an explanation of the topic of the day, with this method you do it yourself at home ; and homework, which instead you do in school along with teachers. This reversal is possible thanks to the internet and new technologies . These days, for example, the third is studying at the Canzoniere of Petrarch. At home, the boys have looked at some sources suggested by the teacher : websites , notes prepared by the teacher , videos on Youtube or on platforms of online courses (such as the Italian Oilproject ) . In one of these videos , for example, the teacher says one of the best-known songs of Petrarch, "Clear, fresh and sweet water " , focusing on its structure (number of rooms, verses and rhymes ) , its figures of speech , and on its meaning . Back in class - after studying these materials - the boys knew already how to recognize some rhetorical figures such as metaphor or distinguish a sonnet from a song based on the structure . And the teacher made them practice : divided them into groups , assigning each a different poem , and gave him an hour to do the analysis of the text. During the exercise , someone would ask advice , someone else raised his hand to say that he did not understand . And the teacher ran between the desks to answer questions of everyone.

So education becomes personalized . Cecchinato Graziano , a researcher at the University of Padua , who coordinates the project of the School of Fidenza , explains the importance of tipping , "When I teach I talk to the whole class , but each student learns in a different way: it may happen that the good students get bored , and that those less able will feel excluded. With this method, the slower learner can see the video several times at home ; others can skip the topics they know and go deeper in others. While in class the teacher has the opportunity to follow them one by one and take action right away if someone did not understand . “

The high school " Pacioli - D'Annunzio " is a public school and began experimenting with funding of EUR 20 thousand with which he bought modular desks,  two interactive projectors , 20 netbooks - one per student - and has trained all the teachers of the third A ( also thanks to the contribution of teachers and school Italian ) . The high school principal , Beatrice Aimi , hopes to continue the experiment in the third A and to extend it to other classes. But he warns : " Today the school is still blocked by the rigidity of spaces and times (27 hours a week in two years, 30 in the three years , broken down by subjects) , but to innovate, the teaching of these must become more flexible."


Here's the Italian version


Here's what the article looked like in the newspaper, scanned by a reader (thank you, Isa Greppi)

How it works:  flips the traditional teaching
method applied in schools

The Objective:  training as a measure of student

Traditional class:  1: Lecture
2:  The teacher talks to the class (gives a lecture)
3:  The students take notes

Traditional School:   The student do the homework in the house

Flipped Class:
3: At home you study the material that will be talked about the next day

4:  The technology supports the learning

Comment:  I'm delighted that the country that gave us Maria Montessori is building on that pioneer's work.

I offer to the reporter and to the teachers who are using the flipped method the free posters and ebooks and other resources of and I hope to visit their schools someday.



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