The Village Voice

July 9th, 2013 by Amy England

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flippedclassroomThere are always at least two sides to every story, and the topic of the flipped classroom is no different. People have interpreted the ideology behind it with varying opinions. The definition of the flipped classroom needs to be clear- A true flipped classroom embraces the idea of students taking control of their learning in and out of the classroom and  the teacher becomes more involved with his or her students as an approachable guide and model constant learner. Instead of the teacher being at the front of the room distributing flat lectures and the students having limited interaction with the content they are learning, suddenly the classroom’s core is activity and increased mastery.

 

The teacher should freely be able to move around the room, guiding the students in their equation-solving, reading, writing and research. Advancements in technology, the implementation of common core strategies (It is important to remember common core is a way of teaching, not a curriculum- strong teachers use many of these strategies regardless of whether or not their school has officially adopted common core.), and rising expectations of student performance are key components of a successful flipped classroom.

 

For teachers and administrators who are new to the flipped concept, it is vital for them to understand every aspect of the curriculum should not be flipped all at once or done overnight, and some things may not need to be flipped at all. Take steps to reach the ultimate goal: begin with single lessons, then a unit, then a complete course, building a strong curriculum along the way.

 

Teachers need to feel empowered, not overwhelmed.  Changing from a traditional classroom to a flipped classroom will take work and they must be willing to submit themselves to some trial and error.  However, the results will be worth it. Teachers who have experienced success say that this way of teaching has transformed their outlook regarding their profession and improved their relationships with their students. Students are able to take ownership in their work because they are constantly involved and can engage with other students regarding their progress, not just their teachers.

 

The work done outside of class needs to be valuable and set a foundation for coming into the classroom the next day. The time that is gained inside the classroom needs to be used effectively. Students should be discussing, writing and sharing their newfound knowledge and working on projects, labs and portfolios.  Assessments can be geared to be more performance and writing based instead of traditional formats of true/false, multiple choice, etc.  Teachers need to be asking their students, “What do you know? Tell me all about it” instead of “This is what you need to know. Do it.”  The flipped classroom has the ability to change the way instructors teach and allow them to reach more students. Students will learn concepts in-depth and no longer be limited to simply scratching the surface.

 

Additional readings about the flipped classroom concept can be found at Educause.eduEdutopia and The Journal

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