If implemented incorrectly, the flipped classroom model can be less effective than traditional teaching methods.  The most challenging component of implementing a flipped classroom format OCCCLectureHallsuccessfully is making class time valuable.  In many universities where professors record every face-to-face lecture and post them online, students often do not feel the necessity of attending class.  To figure out how to make class time valuable for students, the following question must be asked:

What makes the classroom experience of a flipped class different from that of a traditional one?

Active learning activities define the flipped class format.  Teachers can employ group work, differentiated learning, hands-on activities, think-pair-shares, inquiry/discover learning, cooperative learning, guided reciprocal peer questioning, and problem-based learning.

Acknowledging the importance of active learning in the classroom means acknowledging the central role of the teacher in the success of the flipped course.  The nature of a flipped class requires that the teacher be very interactive.

  • The teacher must:
    • Be masters of the content
    • Plan the in-class activities
    • Have backup activities and lessons
    • Be ready to relinquish control of the learning process to the student
      • Increase student responsibility by allowing them to plan and facilitate some class sessions
  • Be able to go through class in a nonlinear fashion
  • Think ahead about the questions that may be asked and be prepared to answer questions or help students arrive at answers
  • Admit when he/she does not know the answer and aid the student in the research and answer-discovery process

Ultimately, the teacher must invest a lot of time when implementing the flipped classroom model.  A common misconception is that flipping the class will automatically mean better student learning and higher student performance.  This notion is false, and the success of the class depends primarily, as discussed above, on teacher and the efficacy of teaching techniques employed.  This is not a discouragement to adopting the flipped class format but just a reminder that with adopting any new teaching strategies comes a period of experimentation.

professor-teachingThere is no need to throw away all of the “old” techniques and impose a flipped classroom format just for the sake of having one.  Teachers must learn how to implement their style of teaching into the flipped format while achieving the goals set for the course.  In addition, the flipped classroom format requires access to technology.  Implementing the flipped classroom format for students from rural areas, poor school districts, and underprivileged families may be extremely difficult or just impossible.

Regardless, remember that, flipping is only ONE way not THE way.  Flipping is not the answer to everything.  Sometimes flipping does not work for a particular class or topic.  Assess the audience and the material and only flip when appropriate.

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