[Photo courtesy of Highbrid Nation Blog.]
Why are teachers around the country “flipping”?
For a non-educator, flipping a classroom might sound like nonsense. For some educators, it sounds even more nonsensical. Let’s look at the basics of what flipping the classroom is all about and how a teacher could start flipping their own classroom.
What is a flipped classroom?
Flipping a classroom simply means instead of using class time to instruct students, teachers have their students complete the instruction outside of class. Class time is then used to apply and practice what the students learned for “homework.”
On second thought, that’s not so simple sounding is it? Most teachers use videos for the direct instruction outside of the class when they flip the classroom, but videos don’t have to be used. Videos are typically the easiest way to get the direct instruction easily to the students. As a social studies teacher, I’ve used the flipped classroom technique a few times. That’s one of the advantages to the technique — it doesn’t have to be the only method used in a classroom.
What does a flipped classroom look like?
Let’s start simple. Most of us remember our high school math classes as the teacher sitting at an overhead projector, chalk board or interactive whiteboard working through problems to teach us how to work through it ourselves. He/she then gave us problems to work on in class before a homework assignment of more problems to practice this new material.
Now let’s flip it. The same math teacher creates a video of him or herself teaching the material on the board or on the computer. The video is then uploaded to a school/teacher website, YouTube or other online resource and lets the students know to watch it for homework. The students come in the next day and work through problems with the new material in class, allowing the teacher to have a lot more time to work one-on-one with students who need help.
Why should I “flip” over a classroom?
So what’s so great about flipping a classroom?
The main advantage to using this method is that it allows the teacher more time with the students to see if they understand the material and can apply it accurately. Based on national, state and local learning standards, most teachers feel they don’t have enough time to teach some material. By flipping the direct instruction (what the teacher teaches) to outside the classroom, teachers can use precious class time to see how much the students understand and apply the material. It’s here that we can really see if students are learning.
Teachers also have multiple methods at their disposal to use. They do not even have to create the videos themselves. There are many videos available for all subjects across the Internet (Youtube, Teachertube, Discovery Education, Khan Academy, etc.) that can be used for instruction.
Ultimately, there is no harm in trying to flip a classroom. If it helps students learn better or in a different way, then the mission of education has been accomplished.
Here are some resources to learn more about flipping the classroom:
- Five Best Practices for the Flipped Classroom by Andrew Miller
- Should You Flip Your Classroom by Ramsey Musallam
- The Flipped Classroom: Turning the Traditional Classroom on its Head Infographic
Please comment below and let me know your thoughts.
Will Prettyman, social studies teacher Early College EAST in Craven County, NC, is always interested in new and different methods to increase student learning and engagement. Early College EAST is an NCNSP partner school. Find Will on Twitter @WPrettyman.