At the end of yet another long day, I was sitting in a staff meeting. A colleague leaned over and asked “Have you flipped your class?” At the time I was not at all aware that this was a method of teaching. However, this concept is becoming more and more popular, at least in my school. Is it the latest buzz word coming down the board pipeline? After talking to a few teachers who have tried this teaching model, I became curious to find out more. Partly to redeem myself from the response that was initially given, “Well I have rearranged my seating plan.”

I came across a few interesting articles written by a Scott Haselwood on a new Model of teaching called the Flipped Class. Haselwood has 20 years experience of teaching high-school mathematics in the United States. He has implemented this model within his own classes.

The Motivation:

The challenge of learning reaches a climax when the student is faced with higher levels of thinking/questions. These levels are reached while students are completing their homework. However, during the lesson lower order thinking is taking place. As a result, it makes sense to provide the student with support and discussion in group settings when they’re being challenged the most. To solve the problem, we can maximize the time of support through a full period instead of a smaller portion after a lesson has been taught.

How it works:

The Idea is quite simple: Reverse the roll of the classroom and home with respect to instruction and practice. At home, the students receives their instruction through online video or podcast created by their teacher. (Khan Academy has excellent examples of what a lesson would look like.) While in the classroom, the students can complete their work with their peers and teacher.

Technology can come into play in so many different ways. It will vary by grade, course, unit and more. Here are a few examples of ICT in order to deliver the lessons:

  1. YouTube
  2. Digital pens
  3. Tablets
  4. a screen casting software – To record the lesson on your computer
  5. A video editing software – To clean up your lesson

The Good:

  • Students can discuss, share and maximize higher level thinking through an entire period
  • Teachers can approach the golden 1:1 support ratio in class
  • Creates an active and engaged class. (Dare I say, “exciting”?)
  • Allows additional time for in-class demonstrations and hands on activities
  • The lessons will never be disrupted by assemblies, fire drills; inclement weather days; field trips; student absences etc… 😀
  • No more  ‘Sage on the Stage‘ Socratic teaching

The Not So Good:

  • Not all students get their homework done. Are they going to watch all the lessons? What happens to the student(s) in class when they don’t complete the lesson?
  • The class may appear chaotic and that can be quite intimidating to some educators.
  • We are creatures of habit. The flipped class can be scary for everyone!
  • There will be LOTS for prep work for the teacher to do on top  of their already busy schedule.
  • Parents and students may resist, in force, to this different way of teaching.

Having passed on this information, I think its important to note that this will not perfect education. The model seems to have it’s flaws, just like any other technique. However, as Haselwood said in the opening of his article, “This model, although not a golden bullet, puts the student firmly into the educational process.”

If you’re interested, I have included a video Introduction to creating a Flipped Lesson from Haselwood’s own site:

Other Related Sites: