“This is not my classroom, it’s yours.” This is a sentence I say to my class on the first day of school. One of the very first things I learned in my undergraduate classes is that learning should be student-centered. After all, it is their learning. In my three years of teaching, I have never taught one grade. Because of this, I have never really lectured to the class, especially with core academic areas: reading, writing, and math. I have taught these subjects in learning groups where students are grouped by their ability levels. I have four different centers. During one group, students visit me and I give our objective and instruct them. The other three groups are specific activity centers with different leveled activities for each group. The extra groups for reading have the themes of: vocabulary, phonics/word study, and comprehension. The groups reinforce topics that we have already covered or go over the skills/objectives that we are working on that week. With my teaching style, the emerging pedagogy that is most appealing to me is the flipped classroom.
As an emerging pedagogy, the definition of a flipped classroom hasn’t developed a definitive definition. However, Edudemic (n.d.) has developed a definition. “Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from group learning space to individual learning space…group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment” (Edudemic, n.d.). The basic idea is that students watch videos or listen to podcasts of lectures that would traditionally be given in class for homework. Students then come to class with questions and engage in a problem that applies what they’ve learned, leading students to be more engaged, have more personalized attention, and work at their own pace. (Educause, 2012). The video from MADDrawProductions (2012) at the end helped me understand flipped classrooms a little bit better.
Further, Saltman (2011) describes the instructional cycle of the flipped classroom in a three step process. The first step is in class exploration. The teacher prepares an activity to activate students’ prior knowledge then students complete an open-ended task or group problem solving task to prepare students for their homework. The second step is exploration at home. At this point, students watch a video at home (made by the teacher or a third-party source) and interact with online media. The third and final step is applying. Students come to class the next day to discuss questions, and the teacher poses an application problem. Students then work collaboratively or independently with the application problem. With the instructional cycle, Saltman (2011) provided examples, which were all in high school classrooms, of how this process works in classroom.
As I continued my research, I noticed most sources focused on the pros of flipped classrooms, touching very briefly on the downsides, so I delved a little deeper. Acedo (2013) lists five pros and five cons to flipped classrooms.
- Students have more control and input in their learning (students can rewind, fast forward, watch as needed)
- Promotes student-centered learning
- Lessons and content are more accessible
- There is a better access for parents to see what their child is learning
- Can be more efficient
- Create or worsen a digital divide (for those without access to a computer)
- Relies on preparation (from teachers) and trust (from students’ participation)
- Significant work on the front-end
- Not a “test-prep” form of learning, not teaching to the test
- Time in front of screens increased (instead of time in front of people)
Acedo (2011) clearly explained the pros and cons of a flipped classroom. After reading the article, I had a better picture of what it might take to create a flipped classroom. Though there are cons, the challenges aren’t insurmountable (Saltman, 2011). Most new ideas in teaching come with challenges, and we have to be willing to look past those challenges to try something new as we ask our students to do.
Acedo, M. (2013). 10 pros and cons of a flipped classroom. Retrieved June 1, 2015, from http://www.teachthought.com/trends/10-pros-cons-flipped-classroom/
Educause. (2012). Flipped classrooms. 7 Things You Should Know About. Retrieved June 1, 2015, from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7081.pdf
Edudemic. (n.d.). The teacher’s guide to the flipped classroom. Retrieved June 1, 2015, from http://www.edudemic.com/guides/flipped-classrooms-guide/
MADDrawProductions (2012). The flipped classroom. Retrieved June 1, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojiebVw8O0g
Saltman, D. (2011). Flipping for beginners. Harvard Education Letter, 27(6). Retrieved June 1, 2015, from http://hepg.org/hel-home/issues/27_6/helarticle/flipping-for-beginners_517