Should We Flip the Classroom?

I remember first hearing the idea of a “flipped classroom” last semester in my Classroom Management course.  It was explained as giving students instruction at home and applying those concepts the next day in class.  After hearing this theory, it sounded pretty good to me.  It would make the classroom more student-centered, so that the teacher is not stuck at the front of the room giving lectures.  Instead, the students learn the concepts on their own time at home, and then (going by Bloom’s Taxonomy), they use worksheets and activities in class to create meaning from the material and apply it.

The problem I see with this, however, is the same problem I see with homework.  Students aren’t necessarily going to put in the time after school to watch videos that the teacher prepares or read articles that they are given for the next class.  There could be many reasons why students would not be able to go over the material at home.  Lack of motivation would be an obvious one, but students from diverse backgrounds (such as those who have to go to a job after school or take care of siblings/family) may suffer from not having the time to devote to this “homework.”

However, there are ways in which a flipped classroom could work.  I liked the article Flipped Classroom Full Picture: An Example Lesson, which took me through a sample lesson plan and activities.  The students were given a hands-on activity to get them started, and then they went to their own computer stations for the material.  As the article (Gerstein, 2011) states, “The benefit of this form of personalized viewing is that the learners have control of the media so they can view it at their own pace.”  I think that this element is very important because every student is different.  During a lecture in a classroom, students are given the information at the teacher’s pace, not their own.  This type of instruction can keep the students from getting overwhelmed, and allows them more freedom with the information.

I think that the “flipped classroom” has its benefits and drawbacks, as with any theory, but I would definitely try to use this type of instruction in my own future classroom.  It puts more responsibility on the students for their own learning, which can prepare them for college, where they will often have to read or do work independent from their courses.  This can also teach them time management.  Overall, while it might take students a while to realize that they have to make time for this kind of instruction, the positives are very appealing.

References:

Gerstein, J. (2011, November 20). [Web log message]. Retrieved from   http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/flipped-classroom-full-picture-an-example-lesson/

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