How to Flip Your Classroom
This post was updated in October 2019
The strategy of the flipped classroom is credited to two Colorado chemistry teachers. In 2007, they started live recording their lectures and demonstrations for students who had to miss class due to extra-curricular activities. Since then, teachers of all grade levels and disciplines have embraced flipped instruction as a means to deliver introductory instruction outside of class. This approach frees up classroom time for hands-on lessons, collaborative activities, and teacher/student one-on-one work.
What is a Flipped Classroom?
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “flipping your classroom” involves moving the traditional role of instruction from the teacher to the student. Homework time focuses on introducing a skill or concept with the help of technology (a video or interactive lesson). Class time is reserved for reinforcing those concepts by addressing individual concerns and completing assignments.
This type of teaching strategy gives students the advantage of working in the digital platforms that they are comfortable with, at their own pace (pausing and rewinding lessons as necessary). It also puts emphasis on struggling students and increases student-teacher interaction.
The Flipped Learning Network created a comprehensive review of research focused on flipped instruction. Their findings showed that, in general, flipped classroom teachers reported:
- Higher student achievement
- Increased student engagement
- Better student attitudes toward learning
- Improved and re-energized job satisfaction
Consider these additional insights about the flipped classroom to help you decide if flipping would be a good opportunity for you and your students.
Is a Flipped Classroom Right for Me?
If you’ve considered introducing flipped instruction into your classroom, ask yourself if a flipped classroom is right for you and your students. The points below can help you decide if you should give it a try or skip the flip. And remember this: A flipped classroom doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing teaching strategy. You can start small, with one lesson in one subject, to get a feel for what it takes to create a flipped lesson and how your students respond.
Give Flipping a Try
A flipped classroom may be a fit for your teaching style if…
- You find that much of your instruction time is focused on low-level information or procedures that students could learn independently.
- You feel like hands-on activities, group discussions, and one-on-one conversations better illustrate which students “get it” and which students need additional instruction.
- You’re looking for learning options for students who learn at their own pace (either ahead of or more slowly than other students) or students who are absent from class.
You May Want to Skip the Flip
Flipped instruction may not be the best option for your class if…
- The population of your class is made up of students who lack access to the Internet outside of school.
- You prefer a more active teaching style than recorded lectures.
- Your teaching style requires immediate feedback from students’ reactions and responses.
Answer a few simple questions to see if flipping your classroom will be successful for you.
Setting Up an “In-Class” Flipped Classroom
As a way to test the waters of the flipped classroom teaching method, you can try out the concept by creating an in-class flip. Jennifer Gonzalez, a former middle school language arts teacher and current educational technology blogger, outlines the in-class flip in an article for Edutopia.
Instead of sending your students home with an instructional video assignment, the video lecture can be viewed in class as part of a series of stations based on your lesson topic. Your students can move from the video lecture to a collaborative work station and then to an independent activity.
You won’t have the benefit of gaining extra in-class time, but using an in-class flip allows for instruction to happen on its own, while the teacher interacts with the class and gauges how students are absorbing the information. In-class flipping also allows for immediate conversation if a student has questions, instead of waiting until the next day.
An in-class flip does take some preparation. You’ll need to pay special attention to how the stations will flow and what pre-learning activities you can set up for the students who haven’t had a turn viewing the video.
When you’re early on in the process of flipped learning, you might not feel very confident in your ability to create instructional materials of your own. If you’re not ready for the spotlight just yet, there are fantastic flipped classroom examples available for your use:
- Crash Course and Crash Course Kids include fun and engaging instructional videos, covering subjects that include science, math, history, and literature, that are appropriate for students from elementary through high school.
- Continental Finish Line eBooks can be easily turned into flipped learning tools. Have students review a lesson’s instructional section at home to prepare them for classroom discussion and comprehension work the next day.