The Flipped Classroom Engages Students and Challenges Teachers


How the Flipped Classroom Works
Teachers around the world are constantly looking for ways to engage students in a different way and change their learning experiences for the better. The flipped classroom has been gaining a lot of attention lately, and many teachers are finding the effectiveness of this new-age style of teaching.

The flipped classroom is exactly as it sounds — the teachers use class time to have one-on-one interactions with students and help them with assignments, projects and textbook exercises. At home, instead of working on tasks by themselves, students can watch interactive lecture videos. Teachers can record their lessons and upload them to YouTube or their own class website.

This new style of teaching gained popularity when Khan Academy hit the scene. Headed by Salman Khan, the organization creates interactive video lectures on a variety of topics that kids can use as supplementary learning.

The reasoning behind a flipped classroom is that kids can learn at their own pace, can pause and rewind videos as needed, and teachers can provide completely customized learning to their classes. The outcome? Happier students who will be more willing to learn because they can do so at a pace that is right for them.

According to User Generated Education, there are four steps to the flipped classroom model.

The Flipped Classroom Model

The first is the “Experiential Exercise.” In this stage, students get hands-on learning and are being engaged through games and experiments during class time, where they will first be introduced to a specific topic or lesson.

The second stage is “Concept Exploration” This is where students use their own time to view lectures online, visit class websites or listen to podcasts. The main point of this stage is so students can go at their own pace, rewind and pause as they see fit, and have full control of how they view the material. Students are also able to choose their own setting, whether it be a home office, their bedroom or the kitchen.

The third stage, “Meaning Making,” is where students make sense of what they have learned in the first two stages. This is also where teachers can test their understanding by asking students to write blogs about the topic, or through traditional testing.

The final stage of the flipped classroom is “Demonstration and Application.” This is the stage where students can finally show off what they’ve learned about a specific topic. This can be through class presentations and projects, in groups or individually.

Jeff Cook, a math teacher at Arvada West High School in Colorado, has introduced flipped classrooms at his school and says, as a teacher, there is definitely an upside.

“The best part was at the end of the school year, as teachers were getting more tired, I wasn’t frustrated with the kids,” Cook said, “I wasn’t up there as an authority trying to cram knowledge into them. I was there to help them navigate through problems.”

Two teachers started the movement at their school, Woodland Park High School in Colorado, back in 2007 and found that while their flipped classroom has many advantages, teachers have the tough job of figuring out how to spend class time.

“You still have to be at the top of your game, even more so,” Aaron Sams, a science teacher at Woodland Park High School, said. “You’ve got more time talking to kids, having conversations, checking the oil. You snag misconceptions before they have time to take root. That’s good teaching.”

Sams, along with his colleague Johnathan Bergmann, taught in a traditional classroom style for many years, but noticed a big difference once they switched things around.

“Flipping the classroom has transformed our teaching practice,” the pair wrote in The Daily Riff. “We no longer stand in front of our students and talk at them for thirty to sixty minutes at a time. This radical change has allowed us to take on a different role with our students. Both of us taught for many years (a combined thirty-seven years) using this model.”

Aside from the effectiveness of such a move, Bergmann and Sams said watching their students learn has been rewarding.

“As we roam around the class, we notice the students developing their own collaborative groups. Students are helping each other learn instead of relying on the teacher as the sole disseminator of knowledge. It truly is magical to observe. We are often in awe of how well our students work together and learn from each other.”

Bergmann and Sams are releasing a book about the flipped classroom with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)  later this year.

If you want to introduce a flipped classroom in your school, a great place to start is with Khan Academy. They have a myriad of videos on a ton of topics, especially for science and math. Have your students use these videos as supplementary learning at home and if you start seeing some progress, it might just be time to flip your classroom!

Image source: Teach, Play, Sing