Supporting Flipped Classrooms
A guide for administrators, students, and parents on how to get the most out of flipped classrooms.
Editor's Note:This post was co-authored by Aaron Sams, Managing Director of FlippedClass.com and founding member of the Flipped Learning Network.
So you're a parent, a student, or an administrator, and you just found out that a teacher in your school has flipped their class. What impact does that have on you? How should you respond? How can you support it? Where can you go for more information?
Your child's experience in a flipped classroom is probably different than your educational experience has been. Acknowledging this fact is probably the most important step in being able to help your student. Before you start to hear chatter about how the teacher "isn't teaching any more," arm yourselves with the following information:
Flipping will increase student-teacher interaction.
One of the beauties of the flipped classroom is that it gives the teacher more individual time with each student. That means your son or daughter will get more one-on-one time with his or her teacher. There is something powerful about moving the teacher away from the front of the room, something that changes the dynamics of the class. Spending lots of quality time with each child helps teachers know students better both cognitively and relationally.
Flipping will bring added value to homework.
How many times have your children come home with homework they were unable to understand? You sat with them at the dinner table and tried to help them, but you couldn't. Or maybe you had learned something when you were in school, and your child has informed you that you "do it wrong." Another beauty of the flipped classroom is that you too can watch the videos with your kids. You can learn how the teacher presents a topic, and you will be better equipped to help your son or daughter. Additionally, viewing video content is a task that all students can complete, and all parents can help support. Concerned about equitable access to technology at home? Check out our earlier post about technology.
Your child will be able to pause and rewind the teacher.
All kids learn at different speeds, and frankly, teachers talk too fast. Wouldn't it be great if your son or daughter could pause and rewind the teacher? Well, they can in a flipped classroom.
Your teacher has flipped your class. What do you need to know?
Don't just watch the video. Learn and interact.
Watching a video, or for that matter a lecture, can be a passive exercise which doesn't require a whole lot from you. As you watch a flipped video, find a quiet place free from distractions, turn off Facebook and Instagram, take notes, write down questions, and make time to learn from the content. Your teacher doesn't expect you to come away having learned everything perfectly, but she does expect you to come to class with some knowledge and background.
You will get more attention from your teacher.
You and your teacher will get more time to talk about things individually. He will be constantly moving around the room working with different students, including you. Be prepared to discuss what you are learning with your teacher. He has your best interests at heart and wants you to succeed. That is why he's implementing the flipped classroom.
You need to be engaged in your learning.
The flipped class may be an adjustment for you, because you'll need to take an active role in your learning. Being passive won't work. At first, this might be difficult, but the overall effect will be that you'll learn how to learn for yourself -- which is an extremely valuable skill to have as you mature.
Here's what to do if you're struggling.
The power of the flipped classroom model is that class time is reimagined. Instead of your teacher standing in front and lecturing at you, there is now more time for different things to happen in class. There is more time for you to get help on hard concepts, and more time for working with your peers to apply what you've learned. Make sure that you take advantage of the extra time in class to learn from your teacher and your peers, and to learn on your own.
How can you support teachers who are flipping their classes?
Give them time and encouragement.
Trying anything new can be difficult, and a flipped classroom is no different. Teachers may need time to work together to plan lessons or create content -- give them collaborative time if you have that ability. Parents may be unfamiliar with the model -- field those phone calls and shield your teachers from unnecessary questions. When teachers face challenges or difficulty, encourage them. Let them know that you're there as a sounding board to help them overcome any issues they encounter.
Model flipping in your own practice.
If you're an administrator who is interested in bringing flipped learning to your school, model it in your staff meetings. Rather than bringing your entire faculty to the library on a Thursday afternoon for a staff meeting to tell them about a new policy, prep them with a video explaining any new information, and invite them to spend the meeting time working on ways to improve instruction at the school. Maximize the face-to-face time you have with your teachers.
If you want to support flipped learning, make sure it's being done well by providing training. Send your teachers to a local workshop or conference, or bring in trainers for staff development. Have expert teachers in your school train other interested teachers. Whatever you choose to do, ensure that the model is implemented with fidelity and care to give the students the best possible experience in the best possible flipped classroom.
Students, parents, and administrators: What advice do you have for other students, parents, or administrators? What are some successful ways that your school has implemented the flipped classroom model, and how have you helped support it?