Flipped Classrooms

Before college, I had never heard of the term flipped classroom. Honestly, before sophomore year I had never truly experienced it.

As a Psychology major, I was required to take Psyc 210 – Psychology Statistics. When I read the word stats I knew I was doomed. I hate numbers and statistics and tables and graphs. I was terrified. Even more so, when I found out it was a flipped classroom setting I was prepared for failure. Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic… but I really was worried.

So what is a flipped classroom? Its a set up for a class in which students prepare outside of class by watching videos, listen to podcasts of lectures, and do reading ahead of time. During class, the time is spent in group discussion, collaborative work, or online polls, assessing what you know about the topic you prepared for outside of class. Its sort of like the lecture is outside of class, and the homework is during class. Flipped!

Often times, teachers use flipped lessons for topics that are really difficult to grasp – in order for students to become acquainted with the information ahead of time, and ask questions and practice in lecture. I think this is why the flipped classroom worked so well with my Psyc 210 class – because it was really difficult information, and we could ask questions about things we weren’t sure about in lecture as well as get hands-on practice with the material.

My flipped class went surprisingly well. I found myself preparing by reading, watching videos, and listening to lectures online much more than I prepared outside of class for my other classes. In class, I knew what was going on, I felt good about group work, and did pretty well with poll questions my professor asked us. It was a success because we have access to laptops and technology that allowed us to prepare efficiently.

So what about in elementary, middle, or high schools? Is the flipped classroom setting ideal? Is it even possible?

First, you have to make sure all students can have access to the material they need in order to prepare for class. This can be difficult in settings with lower SES or parents who can’t take the children to the library or those who don’t have computers at home. Therefore, teachers can use magazine articles or some other source just to expose students to the information. If the school is one in which all students have tablets or laptops, then a flipped classroom would work really well.

One good thing about flipped classrooms that utilize technology and videos or podcasts is that students can watch the videos as many times as they want. Students can pause the videos, replay them, and try to get as much out of the lectures as possible.

Another benefit of flipped classroom teaching is that it increases student participation and interaction. In settings such as a typical lecture class, students may or may not read the textbook, go to class and write down notes from a powerpoint presentation, and not really engage with the information. Therefore, I have found I am a huge advocate for flipped classrooms.

So how likely that this set up could be used in elementary schools? Not so much. High schools, for sure. As well as college. But for now, I think the traditional classroom setup is best for elementary and even some middle schoolers, and leave the flipped classrooms for high schoolers and college students.

What’s your opinion on flipped classrooms? What are some activities that could be used in elementary flipped classrooms?


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3 Responses to Flipped Classrooms

  1. jmroney says:

    Flipped classrooms seem like an effective teaching strategy, if everyone in the class is able to have access to the tools necessary to do well. I had Psyc 210 too, but the other lecturer who did not use a flipped classroom instruction style. I feel that because the material was so difficult, I would have benefited from flipped classroom instruction, especially with video and worksheet guidance. My question however is how would a flipped classroom be possible for subjects such as English or Social Studies? For English I feel that many classrooms already use this method. Students are required to read outside of class and then discuss what they read in class. Elementary schoolers probably would not benefit from the flipped classroom style as much as a middle or high schooler would. The student needs the mental capacity to be able to self-teach, which is something I struggled with when beginning college. I was used to the experience of the teacher teaching me, and that’s it. However teaching oneself with the right materials, and then discussing it in class for full clarity is immensely beneficial, if the student has the means necessary and time available to dedicate to learning outside of the classroom walls.


  2. gabbylap says:

    It seems as if flipped classroom strategies can be effective, when used at the appropriate time. Using one teaching strategy throughout the semester could quite possible stagnate growth. However, I must admit I never experience a flip classroom until I started college. Now, I feel as if most of my classes are like your Psych 210. There’s an expectation to come to class having a relative understanding of the material, and then to further solidify understanding in class. However, does a flipped classroom style sometimes translate to laziness? I mean in some instances, the expectation to teach yourself and then come to class to work on assignments seems like as easy out for an overwhelmed professor. I guess, like most things, and equilibrium needs to be reached between student and teacher accountability when it comes to teaching and learning the subjects at hand.


  3. devin17h says:

    This is a really interesting topic! I started to have some experience with flipped classroom methods in high school. My AP European History teacher eased us into a flipped classroom throughout the course of the year. We were expected to read from the beginning, but, gradually, he lectured less and less until he would lecture for the last 10-20 minutes (of a 90 minute class) and the rest of the the time we would engage in activities that enhanced our understanding of the material. The activities were varied and involved everything from engaging with primary sources to discussing in small groups, to preparing our own presentations to teach the class, or having “tea parties” where we would impersonate historic figures and engage in debates. Our teacher put a lot of time and effort into creating activities and that made the flipped classroom approach effective for us in a social studies class. We also had an enthusiastic class, access to text books and internet, and some prior experience with flipped class room techniques in other class. I don’t know if flipped classrooms would be ideal for all classrooms, but I enjoyed it in that setting!


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