A relatively modern approach to education is now becoming ubiquitous in the education ecosystem. This method entails the use of electronic and online tools in conjunction with traditional classroom learning as part of knowledge impartment, and is called Blended learning. Also, one of the teaching practices that employs blended learning, and has caught the attention of educationists everywhere, is the Flipped Classrooms concept.
In simple terms, the coursework or the learning content is provided to the students even before they enter the classroom in the Flipped Classrooms approach to teaching. They have to familiarize themselves with the coursework outside the classroom. Consequently, teachers clarify the problems, and help the students practice the relevant concepts inside the classroom.
The concept of Flipped Classrooms has perhaps been the most widely recognized due to the popularity of a book published by chemistry teachers, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams in 2012. They implemented the Flipped Classroom approach in their class, and published their findings through the book.
Another propagator of the Flipped Classroom style of teaching was Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, a free online education platform. It provides thousands of instructional lectures on Math and Science. These lectures are free to access for one and all.
1. Student gains knowledge outside the classroom.
2. The application of knowledge is taught to the students in the classroom.
Since the Flipped Classroom approach is a type of blended learning, online learning is a core part of this concept. The students watch online lectures, synchronously or asynchronously, and engage in online discussions. Moreover, they may carry out research related to the curriculum at home. And, the students delve deeper into the topic during the class. Activities such as reviewing which have been traditionally associated with homework are now performed during the class as well.
The Merits of the Flipped Classrooms Concept
One of the quintessential benefits of employing this method of teaching is that the video lessons that are available online for the students give them control over the learning pace. Therefore, they can go over it as many times as they want, review the difficult parts that might need further reinforcement, and focus on parts that are of particular interest to them. This develops an interest in the curriculum and inspires further engagement by the student.
“I now have time to work individually with students. I talk to every student in every classroom every day.”
– Jonathan Bergmann, one of the authors of Flip Your Classroom on the benefits of video lessons.
– It gives more freedom to each student so they can develop individually. The advanced students have the opportunity to progress at their own pace at home and then engage proactively in the classroom.
– On the other side of the scale, students who are struggling get more time to familiarize themselves with the topics. They can develop those concepts in the classroom with the help of a teacher.
– Parents can easily be aware of their children’s performance and keep a track of what they are learning. Thus, they can help them if and when needed.
– The role of the student in this approach changes from the passive recipient to an active assimilator. They engage more enthusiastically with the syllabus. Moreover, they also develop a deeper understanding of the learning content and how to practically use it.
The Pitfalls of the Flipped Classrooms Approach
– There is a possibility that the concept of Flipped Classrooms might get labelled as another faction in a fabricated battle between teachers and technology.
– Education has a long history of interest in adopting new teaching approaches, only to abandon them later on. There’s a tangible danger that flipping, which appears simple prima facie, but has great depth and profound applications, may transform into the latest education fad.
– If the student does not have a reliable internet connection or the relevant technology (desktop, laptop, etc.) at home, then it wouldn’t be feasible for them to do their “homework”.
– Students have to be self-motivated in order to prepare for the class without close monitoring. Distraction is a big problem for students who lack focus and lose attention easily. Also, if the core concepts are not clear to them, it will be difficult to delve deeper into the subject with the teacher during a regular class.
With the advent of technology, this teaching practice can be practically applied to teach certain groups of students, for example, at the university level.
So, the question isn’t “can it be done?”. The question is, “whether it should be done?”.
The general consensus that the education community has reached is that with the right conditions, the Flipped Classrooms approach is one of the most ideal methods to dive deeper into the course curriculum and teach students efficiently.
Removing lesson delivery from the list of things done in the classroom frees up precious time. It is best to use this time judiciously, and further understand the topic, collaborate, and employ activities that promote long-term retention and develop problem-solving skills.
You can get more information about Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams’s book here.