With technology and educational ideologies advancing at an unprecedented pace, many new theories and methodologies are being implemented worldwide. The flipped classroom is one of the hottest topics in education these days.
This instructional strategy has received both praise and criticism. Will we see this methodology make its way into our students’ curriculum? Or is it another fad that will fade away?
What is a Flipped Classroom?
A flipped classroom is a teaching method and type of blended learning that reverses our traditional educational environment. Instructional content is delivered outside the classroom, often online. It is typically conveyed through video lectures, slideshows, readings, and online forums.
In the classroom, instead of a teacher-centric discourse, the focus is shifted to a learner-centered model. Activities may include typical homework assignments, lab experiments, original document analysis, debates, presentations, current events discussions, peer-reviewing, project-based learning, skill development, and concept practice.
The teacher’s role in the classroom is more of mentorship or guiding role. It becomes more personal and less academic. The amount of time spent on a subject varies from student to student. Rather than spending a predetermined amount of time on a topic, a student must “master” a topic before moving onto the next one.
Praise for this Method of Teaching
- Flipped classrooms cater to all learners (visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic).
- Classrooms become more hands-on and focus on problem-solving and higher thinking.
- Accessibility is increased. Students can spend more time outside the classroom and move through subject material at their own pace, making it easier for students with jobs and other responsibilities to receive an education.
- Communication between peers and between students and teachers is emphasized.
- Student-centered teaching models provide more personalized educational experiences and ensure mastery over topics.
- Avoids “cramming” for exams and decreases stress, which increases information retention after the course.
Criticisms of Flipped Classrooms
- Students from a lower socio-economic background may not have access to computers or tablets to view the course material.
- Students who grew up without technology may find self-learning much more difficult than students exposed to this type of content growing up.
- Teachers will require additional prep time. Creating engaging, high-quality videos requires a lot of time.
- A large investment is needed to make sure the school, teacher, and student body are completely prepared for this model.
The flipped classroom model is still a relatively new teaching method. Research is being undertaken to see the effectiveness of this strategy with students of all ages. If this model is effective, we may see a huge shift in our students and new teachers’ education.