Is A Flipped Classroom Right For You?

The traditional teaching model of lecturing and note taking has fallen by the wayside. Now, more and more teachers are trying out more engaging lessons that bring about more classroom participation. That can take shape in many ways, but one of the newest, and increasingly popular, is the Flipped Classroom.

So what exactly is a flipped classroom? It is essentially what the name implies; a classroom where ‘homework’ is done in school, while traditional lectures and readings are done at home. This means that while in class students participate in activities, then go online that night to watch lecture videos. The idea behind this is that students can watch lectures at their own pace, while engagement grows in the classroom.

There is plenty of good that can be said for flipped classrooms, but of course, there are negatives. We’ve compiled some of the pros and cons of a flipped classroom, along with plenty of detail, to help you decide if it is a model that would work for you.

Pros

  • Students are able to learn at their own pace. If they don’t understand something the first time, they can go back and re-watch the instructional video. This makes it much less difficult to balance different learning paces.
  • Students who are absent in class may miss the activities of the day, but they can still watch the videos the teacher provides to stay caught up on class material. In the traditional model students can do the homework, but never learn the exact material they missed while not in school.
  • Students can get more individual time with teachers when teachers don’t have to spend the entire day at the front of the classroom. With lectures done at home, teachers are freer to work with students who didn’t understand the material. One of the biggest complaints when it comes to larger class sizes is that there is little one on one help.
  • Flipped classrooms promote engagement in the classroom. When lecturing is removed, there is much more time for group discussions, hands-on activities, and collaborative learning. It becomes much more difficult for students to zone out this way.
  • The time when students have to spend most of their time thinking – on solving problems, answering questions, and applying concepts, is all done in the classroom with a teacher present. Parents simply don’t have the capacity to help students with homework the way a teacher can help in class.

Cons

  • Teachers will have to spend extra time creating videos and podcasts, as well as uploading them online. Videos must also be interesting enough to keep students’ attention. This can take a lot of extra time.
  • This teaching style requires students to have access to technology. While many students have computers at home, not all of them do, and this can put less financially well-off students behind. Libraries can help with this to an extent, but they do have limited hours and all students may not be able to watch the videos teachers make.
  • Videos are generally going to be much shorter than a typical lecture, which means your video lectures will cover less material. How challenging this is will depend greatly on the subjects you cover.
  • There will be students who do not watch the videos. This is inevitable, and there’s not a good way around this. You could try giving quizzes every morning, but that’s not always a good indication about if a video is being watched or not.

If you decide to try the flipped classroom approach, keep all of these pros and cons in mind. A lot of teachers have started out by using the flipped classroom model sparingly. Try using it for specific lessons, instead of making the complete jump right away.

Whether you are interested in flipped classrooms or not, this type of teaching style seems to be here to stay. The debate about the benefits versus the negatives still rages, but the debate also is forcing more teachers to re-asses their teaching styles.

Have you tried this teaching method? Know anyone who has? Let us know in the comments below!


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