What You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms

What You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms
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Pic by the US Department of Education

A flipped classroom is a new teaching method that is showing great results and growing ever more popular. The model focuses on student participation and active learning which helps to reinforce new concepts and gives students a practical application to the theories they have learned.

How it works

In this model, students watch a short lecture video before they come to class. The video lecture will cover the most basic elements of the lesson and will generally be available online. This means that students can watch the lecture again when they are studying for a test or preparing for an exam.

The students then enter the class and are given a series of tasks to perform. These can include discussions, observations, experiments etc. Here the teacher is free to oversee activities, answer questions and provide guidance. Removing the teacher from the front of the class means they are free to spend more time individually with students and are more likely to pick up mistakes or areas which need improvement.

No set format

The flipped classroom is fluid and teachers are able to bring in multimedia and a variety of tasks to provide activities for students to do. While the short video lecture is a common feature followed by in-class activities which reinforce the lecture, there are other elements to the flipped classroom too.

It is common for the class to complete a short quiz near the end of the lecture with immediate feedback. This is to ensure that the students have understood everything in the lecture and to correct any mistakes or fill in gaps in their knowledge.

Some teachers post the quizzes online so students can use them to study or review and they may add supplementary videos, guest lectures, notes and other resources for students to use.

Unlike traditional classroom setting, students don’t miss out on what the teacher is saying because they are taking notes. It also means they have the opportunity to reflect on the content of the lecture prior to coming to class.

Pros and cons

For some teachers, the switch from front-of-class authority figure to a more co-operative and collaborative role is difficult to make. When teachers have very large classes, this kind of group work may be difficult to organize and control.

The model also requires student to be disciplined, independent learners. Without viewing the video lecture, the in-class tasks may prove ineffective.

Students also need to have the equipment and tech savvy to access online resources.

This model works really well for teachers who are organized and learners who are committed. It means that instead of passively absorbing knowledge, students are hands-on and mastering the new concepts while gaining a wealth of new practical skills. When done correctly, the flipped classroom can be a real asset for students and teachers alike.

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