If you are used to traditional methods, the Flipped Classroom model sounds like a paradox—watching lectures at home and doing homework in class? Such a reversal can appear confusing and impractical, especially if you are approaching the idea for the first time.
But this an oversimplification: there are as many ways to flip a classroom as there are teachers. Once you have found the model that works for you, here are some of the advantages you may find.
1. Students are in charge
One of the reasons some teachers are sceptical of the Flipped Classroom model is that it relies on trusting students to watch the assigned lectures—how can students who are too lazy to do homework take it upon themselves to learn new lessons on their own time when there’s no one to watch them and they could be hanging out with friends instead?
While it is true that the Flipped Classroom model only works with students who are mature enough to take charge of their own studies, placing trust in them may actually encourage them to be more responsible and learn to manage their time and their duties better.
2. Setting your own pace
If the lecture comes in the form of a video, students can literally pause and rewind their teacher, have the explanation repeated to them as many times as they need, and skip the parts they have already mastered: each one can adapt the lesson to their individual strengths and weaknesses. The video lesson for the day may last ten minutes, but if a student is struggling and needs to take twenty, or another is ahead of their peers and can cut it down to five, they are both at liberty to do so.
3. Spicing up your classroom
If used creatively, the Flipped Classroom model can offer more variety in classroom activities, which is sure to keep everyone engaged and prevent the risk of boredom.
Once students have watched the lecture, there are many ways they can prove their understanding of it. Some may prefer to write about it, others will be more comfortable giving a speech, others yet may prefer to demonstrate their mastery by solving practical exercises or even creating artistic representations of what they have learnt.
The Flipped Classroom opens up possibilities for more stimulating activities, thus making school a more inviting place to be. If the typically ‘boring’ part occurs at home and the classroom becomes the place where the fun part happens, students will be more interested in their own education and possibly even less anxious about going to school.
4. Let the debate begin!
Flipping your classroom changes the way students interact with the teacher and with one another. Instead of being the protagonist, giving lectures and acting as the main source of information, the teacher becomes just a participant of a debate—an important participant, to be sure, but a guide rather than a lecturer.
Students who have watched a lecture at home will have had the opportunity to prepare thoughtful and relevant questions, which may spark a class-wide discussion that ultimately leads to a greater understanding of the topic and improves the students’ speaking and persuasion skills.
5. A new way to use your time
Getting ready to flip your classroom is a significant time investment: producing or finding quality material to assign and adapting to a whole new method can initially increase a teacher’s workload.
But once the Flipped Classroom project is underway, teachers may find that the new system is actually more efficient. Once the video lessons are ready, not having to lecture regularly cuts down significantly on lesson planning, and since the results of student activities get immediate feedback in class, Flipped Classroom teachers also spend less time grading assignments.
6. Family matters
While the Flipped Classroom encourages responsibility on the students’ part, it may also have another effect that is apparently the opposite: if learning occurs at home, families can be more involved in their studies. Gone are the days when parents had to ask: “What did you learn at school today?”. With the Flipped Classroom, families can see what their children are learning and easily check on their progress.