The Flipped Classroom is becoming a serious alternative to the traditional approach to education and is spreading in more schools across the world. Instead of going to class to listen to the teacher’s lecture and then home to do their homework, students in a flipped classroom listen, watch or read by themselves before the class begins. While in class, they ask questions in order to clarify any difficult aspects of the lesson.
“No longer is content delivery the focus of the class, nor is the teacher’s main responsibility the dissemination of knowledge. Instead, teachers take on the role of a facilitator of learning. They can work with students in small groups and have more one-on-one interactions. The simple act of removing the direct instruction (lecture) from the whole group changes the dynamic of the room and allows the teacher more time to personalize and individualize the learning for each student. Each student gets his/her own education tailored to their individual needs. Instead of a one size fits all education, each student gets just what they need when they need it.” says Jon Bergmann, one of the creators of the flipped learning movement.
7 Misconceptions about the flipped classroom
Nevertheless, despite the continuously burgeoning popularity of the flipped classroom, there are still plenty of misconceptions about it. Here are seven of them and why all educators out there should overcome them.
It's just a buzzword
It is a buzzword. It’s not just a buzzword. Even though the “Flipped Classroom“ goes back to 2007, the concept of reverse instruction is far older. No matter how you call it, making students come prepared to class and then design classroom activities so that there are more discussions, more interaction and more personalized instruction is a sound approach to education.
You either flip it or you don’t
Many people assume that you if you want to flip your classroom you have to flip it from all angles. But since the flipped classroom can be considered almost synonymous with personalized instruction (they’re not exactly the same, but they do put the student’s needs at the center of the learning universe), a one-size-fits-all approach is definitely not part of it. You can flip the entire semester, or just some types of lessons, or even some learning activities. It’s up to every teacher to decide how to implement it and there’s always a middle ground.
Flipped content must be a video
Flipped content can be in video format and this format may be the most popular. However, this does not mean it’s the only one. Teachers who want to flip their classrooms can opt for videos or simply go for text materials. These can be printed and handed out the class before, or better yet, uploaded online in the school LMS or other class collaboration platform.
The teacher must be in the video
Teachers can become the star of their show if the want to and film themselves while holding a lecture. This is great, as it adds personality to the learning material. However, not all teachers are natural with the camera. For those who prefer to avoid the filming light, the internet has plenty of educational video resources waiting to be discovered. Khan Academy and TED Talks are great examples. Also, screencasting is a viable solution: it has the personal touch given by the familiar voice of the teacher but the focus is on what is shown on the screen.
The teacher needs a lot of technical knowledge
Flipping the classroom requires the use of technology, but it’s not like rocket science. Teachers do need to know more than how to open or close a computer, but all technological tools created to assist instruction strive to be as intuitive as possible. Recording screens, using a microphone, or uploading various formats of resources in the LMS are things that are easy to learn. Plus, there are plenty of YouTube videos on step-by-step instruction for how to use any tool.
Flipping the classroom takes too much time
This may not be too far from the truth, but it all goes down to what “too much time” means. Flipping the classroom does take time. Depending on the abilities of each teacher and how much of the class needs to be flipped, it can take a significant amount of time. But once designed, it’ll save time. Teachers will be able to use the same piece of content over and over again, class after class, year after year. Then, any changes that must be made to keep the content updated will not take as much time as creating everything from scratch again.
Students may not be fans
Teenagers are not particularly viewed as responsible human beings and they’re known for avoiding homework and studying for as much as possible. If they don’t pay attention and the don’t do their homework, how can we make sure they’ll do the necessary pre-class work? Well, communication is key. By asking questions like “What did you find difficult to understand in Chapter X?” or “What was the most interesting thing you found in the learning materials?” every time, teachers can nudge students to come prepared to class. At least, that’s what one professor did, and was impressed with the results.
Over to you
In addition to the above, I’m sure there are other myths involving the flipped classroom. Which other ones do you think should be added to this list? Do share them in the comments section below!