Recent Articles

Increasing student engagement, by design


On June 6, 2016 the Chronicle of Higher Education featured the founder of Peer Instruction and my mentor Eric Mazur in article titled “The Making of a Teaching Evangelist,” by Dan Berrett.   The article describes the history of Peer Instruction and how Mazur’s defining pedagogical method led to his new course redesign approach. While the article describes a protocol […]

10 Reasons Why You Should Get Into a Flipped Class

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  This week, Turn to Your Neighbor introduces a new series authored by students, called The Sandbox.  In The Sandbox,  we will look at educational innovation from the student point of view.  In this first post, Bailey Urban, a master’s student in the Program in Higher Education Leadership at The University of Texas at Austin […]

Why Flipped Classrooms Fail Part 3


Flipped classrooms sometimes fall flat. In this third and final post, we continue our exploration of why flipped classrooms fail (see Part 1 and Part 2). You will gain diverse perspectives and new strategies from expert practitioners in K-12 and higher education including flipped learning pioneer, Aaron Sams.  This post is part of The Neighborhood, a special Turn To […]

Why Flipped Classrooms Fail Part 2


In Part 1 of this three part series, I propose one reason why I suspect some flipped classrooms fail while others succeed. [Go to Part 1: Why Flipped Classrooms Fail] Failure is a broad term and there are many ways a flipped classroom can fail.  The type of failure that causes the most tension for me is […]

Why Flipped Classrooms Fail


“I tried Peer Instruction and it didn’t work.”   As a champion of the popular flipped learning method developed by Eric Mazur, this phrase always hits me hard when I hear it from fellow educators. And I do hear it. Over the years, I’ve run into many different accounts of experiments in innovative teaching and flipped […]

How to flip your class with quizzes in 5 steps


Quizzes have long been used as a “stick” in education. Did you ever scramble at the warning from your own teachers during class,  “y’all better do your work…or else…I am going to give you a quiz!” Of course, most educators use quizzes for a more evolved reason. Rather than quiz as punishment, we use the mini-tests […]

How to help people remember what they learn


My worst nightmare? Realizing Turn to Your Neighbor has been on hiatus for 365 days!? No, but that sure is a close second. Students, of course, are my worst nightmare. But not for the reasons you might think. As a faculty member working with graduate students and director of a program serving over 3000 high schoolers, a […]

3 ways to write effective questions

Ever wonder how to write Peer Instruction, clicker questions, or ConcepTests, or other item types that capture students attention in ways that help you share the wonderful world of the subject matter you are teaching? Check out my new post, “3 Tips for Teaching – Great Question Writing” on to get 3 ideas for writing effective questions […]

Can you use Peer Instruction with just one concept?

Can you use Peer Instruction with just one concept? A biochemistry professor from Taibah University in Saudi Arabia raised this question during a recent virtual Peer Instruction training Professor Mazur and I worked on for 30 faculty. This question, in various forms, comes up often among teachers trying to innovate in their classrooms across the globe. […]

Peer Instruction For Computer Science – The Neighborhood

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD  The Neighborhood is a special  Turn To Your Neighbor series where we invite innovative educators from around the globe to discuss a variety of education topics.    In this post of The Neighborhood, three computer scientists who are leading the charge to transform Computer Science (CS) eduction with Peer Instruction (PI) answer common questions they […]

Eric Mazur wins first ever Minerva Prize for Advancements in Higher Education

The Minerva Project announced Eric Mazur, developer of Peer Instruction, as the first winner of the Minerva Prize for Advancements in Higher Education. Minerva reports that the prize “recognizes one faculty member from any institution worldwide who has made a significant impact on student learning experiences through extraordinary innovation in higher education.”  The Minerva Academy is a […]

Next Door Innovator: One Math Teacher Working to Help Thousands Learn Better

Next Door Innovator is a Turn to Your Neighbor (TTYN) series on educational innovation inspired by Deborah Solomon’s New York Times column, Questions For. We engage in short conversations with educators, students, and others doing clever work to gain their insights about relevant topics. In this post, we feature TTYN reader and math teacher, Geoffrey Slack. Mr. Slack […]

What is Peer Instruction…in 2 mins

In this post, I give a 2ish minute video primer on Peer Instruction and how to implement it with fidelity. The video has about 50 seconds of preamble and closing for 2.56 minutes total. This basic introduction includes a handful of quick tips for avoiding common pitfalls. Some key ideas introduced in the video for which […]

Next Door Innovator: An Interview with Eric Mazur, Developer of Peer Instruction

At Turn To Your Neighbor, we constantly search for new ways to showcase bright ideas and innovation in education. As part of this venture, we have started a new interview series called Next Door Innovator.  Our inaugural interviewee is Professor Eric Mazur, developer of Peer Instruction. Julie Schell: Where was your last education-related speaking engagement and what were you speaking […]

Peer Instruction 3.0 – When students do the teaching…with video

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD  The Neighborhood is a special  Turn To Your Neighbor series where we invite innovative educators from around the globe to discuss a variety of education topics.  In this inaugural post of The Neighborhood, five classroom teachers from across grade levels discuss what happens when students teach each other using video. This strategy […]

Peer Instruction with a Twist of Innovation and a Social Studies Teacher

In our first post of 2014, Peer Instruction Network member, Mr. George Phillip, describes how he moved from a thoughtful teacher to someone who is innovating in his social studies classroom with Flipped Teaching and Peer Instruction. While his unique twists on Peer Instruction evolved from a 5th and 6th grade classroom, they have implications […]

From Flipped Classrooms to Flipping with Peer Instruction

In a recent article on flipped learning in USA Today, Nancy Lape of Harvey Mudd College reports finding no statistical difference in students’ learning in a study comparing a “flipped” and a lecture-based classroom.  She states: “(The professors’) lives might be easier and their students might be happier if they just do a traditional class.” […]

The 6 most common questions about using Peer Instruction, answered

What is Peer Instruction? Peer Instruction is research-based teaching method that leverages the power of social interaction to drive learning. In an ideal implementation of Peer Instruction, students get first exposure to content and complete an assessment of their content understanding before coming to class. In this way, Peer Instruction is a flipped learning approach. […]

Flipping your classroom to meet the common core and other standards

As the new school year commences, most K-12 teachers are faced with the reality of standards-based grading and the hurdle of having to cover ridiculous amounts of material in what feels like a nanosecond.   While standards-based grading is primarily a phenomena in the K-12 realm, college and university teachers are moving toward similar curricular approaches, […]

Flipped Classrooms 101 – A self-paced, short course

You’ve all met the Boredom Monster. He’s that big blob lurking around our classrooms, poking students in the sides with his slimy fingers for attention and vexing us as we try with all our might to teach content in engaging and inspiring ways.  Flipped teaching can trap the Boredom Monster before he infiltrates your classroom […]