In Plain English: Chantal Reid

Chantal Reid is excited about teaching “How Plants Feed and Fuel the World.” She and Jim Siedow have taught it before, but this time is different: they've “flipped” the classroom and instituted “team-based learning.” “You can see the students learning, it’s really exciting,” she says. “I don’t ever want to teach another way.” Flipping? Teams? Huh? In a flipped class, there is no formal lecture; the students prepare by studying the assigned material beforehand. Class begins with a test taken individually and then in teams. The students discuss the material and debate the correct answers; the faculty are careful to make the teams roughly equal in ability so that those with more background can help the others. Meanwhile the professors hover, ready to guide the discussion if it starts going down the wrong path. If lots of students have the same misunderstanding, the faculty can halt the discussion and give a mini-lecture on that subject. The teams also do projects together, such as analyzing data taken from a published paper without knowing the author's conclusions. The students end up teaching themselves, which is pretty sweet for the faculty! Actually, preparing short videos, study guides and tests takes a lot of time. If she had any spare time, Chantal would use her creativity to sew all her own clothes.