Flipping the Classroom FAQs

Flipping the Classroom FAQs

This is the second post about Flipping the Classroom.  To view the original post, see Flipping the Classroom at GRACE in GRACE News. This post clarifies how flipping is being used at GRACE with answers to frequently asked questions about this particular teaching methodology.

Is flipping the classroom a new strategy?

This is not a new strategy and several GRACE teachers have been successfully incorporating this concept into their repertoire of teaching methodologies over the last few years.  The concept of flipping focuses on the question “Where will the students benefit the greatest from the classroom teacher’s experience and expertise?” In planning lessons and making decisions about structure and pacing, this question stays of utmost importance.

For example, in English classes, if the teacher determines that reading comprehension is the class weakness, they will read together during class and leave application of ideas for independent homework. If reading comprehension for a particular text is not an issue, students will read independently and bring textual questions for class discussions and applied analysis. The second scenario incorporates the flipping strategy and has been used in English classrooms for decades.  Now math and science teachers can use videos and other technology tools for students to learn concepts at home and use classroom time to make sure students are able to apply the concept correctly by using class time for problem solving.

Is this a strategy that all teachers will adopt all of the time?

It will not be used by all teachers, all the time. Flipping the classroom will be used as any other teaching strategy at GRACE: when it’s the best strategy to teach the curriculum and engage students for a particular lesson or unit. Technology has opened the door for new subjects to try flipping, so it is a new strategy  for some teachers.  Just like with any new tool, teachers will decide if it is the best way to teach a lesson or unit in their classroom as they determine the setting or scenario that best accomplishes the goals and objectives for that skill set.  The concept of ‘flipping’ seems trendy but is not. It is actually class-specific education.

Is flipped classroom a common core strategy?

Flipping the classroom is not a Common Core Strategy. Common Core is a choice of curriculum for a school. Flipped classroom is a way of teaching for any teacher to use whenever this is the best strategy for a particular lesson or unit of lessons. It involves the students getting information outside the classroom, which has become more accessible with the use of technology, so that they are ready to use this information in the classroom for problem solving, discussion, group work, centers. etc.

Will this result in weaker or gifted students getting all the attention and average students being overlooked?

The flipped classroom allows time for students to read, research, or watch a video at their own pace so that they are ready to use and manipulate the information when they are in the classroom. Some of the best practices used by our teachers include keeping videos short (3-5 minutes is the goal), using a tool like Educanon or Edpuzzle to embed questions along the way to check for understanding and increase engagement, using good software like Screencastify or Quicktime to make movies, and having follow-up time in class on the video.  This follow-up includes time for clarifying questions and individualized extension work with the teacher as needed.  This strategy also allows students time to watch the videos again (and again and again, if needed!) and in an optimal environment for them away from distractions of other students. This strategy allows students at all levels to prepare for class time and follow-up questions in accordance with their unique learning abilities.

This also allows teachers to spend time in class utilizing different students’ learning styles in areas of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication which are vital for our 21st Century environment. Small groups may include weaker students working on a specific skill, honors students receiving enhancements, or average students practicing to solidify concepts. This strategy encompasses student engagement and allows for more differentiation and less of the lecture style, old school room (1950’s) approach. Committed teachers who put in the time to plan out and make a video are also the ones who are committed to spending more one-on-one time in the classroom.

Will this result in my student having more homework?

No, any videos or activities a student does to prepare for a flipped lesson will fit into our existing homework policy.  Hopefully, a flipped lesson will make homework less stressful for parents and for students since the student will have more time in class to work with the teacher to solve problems or discuss the lesson. Specific complex math and science concepts can be taught by the experienced teacher on a video and then the teacher can have a full 45 minute period to work with groups of students to ensure understand of these concepts.

Using the traditional method may result in the teacher teaching the lesson in class and then sending students home to work on homework before they have fully grasped and practiced the concepts. Students become frustrated and cannot complete homework with understanding. Videos also stay in the resources section of Talon so that students can access them whenever needed and review them before quizzes and tests. Students are able to access resources and keep up with work if they are sick or need to miss the class for any reason.