5 Tips and Tricks for a Fabulous Flipped Classroom
So, you’ve taken a big step into the future of education. You’ve kissed your traditional classroom lectures and nightly homework assignments goodbye. Your classroom is now a flipped classroom!
Flipped classrooms are one of several trends currently revolutionizing the way students are taught. By assigning lesson material to be studied at home via recorded lecture videos, slideshow presentations, or guided reading, teachers can help students learn at the pace that’s right for them.
In the process, teachers are often relieved of the burden of trying to consistently adapt their instruction speed to each learner in their class. Instead, the flipped classroom model allows teachers to assign content to be learned and reviewed at home so class time can be spent engaging their students in individual or group activities where they can practice and apply the concepts they studied the night before.
The concept of a flipped classroom may seem strange initially, and it certainly takes some time to get used to. The potential benefits for your students can make this switch well worth the effort. Here are five tips to help you make your flipped classroom fabulous:
1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race for Flipped Classrooms
What’s the easiest way to eat a whale? One bite at a time. The same goes for transitioning to a flipped classroom model.
Don’t expect to make the change overnight, and don’t be discouraged when you run into road bumps. There will be nights when videos don’t load, and your students won’t understand certain lessons until you work with them in person. That doesn’t mean your flipped classroom is failing.
Keep the challenges at bay by having an initial game plan and starting one lesson at a time. Find out what works for your class, and build around that. There is no magic formula for a flipped classroom; you know your students best, so eat the whale with them—one bite at a time.
2. Switch It, Change It, Rearrange It
One of the more interesting things about the flipped classroom model is that it largely eliminates the need for the traditional classroom setup, where the instructor is the focal point. Rather than arranging your classroom in the standard lecture hall style, move desks around to better suit the activities your students are engaged in.
Holding a Socratic seminar? Arrange your desks to make one big conference table. Working in groups? Put desks together in small clusters. Make sure there is ample room for you and your students to move around, interact, and collaborate.
3. Put Even More Into Your Flipped Classroom Lectures
Just because you won’t have a classroom full of students staring back at you while you lecture doesn’t mean you can phone it in. If you record your lectures, speak slowly and clearly and record yourself in a quiet place. It will distract you and the students watching your video if there are interruptions or background noises like a yapping dog or a neighbor’s lawn mower.
If you’re looking for ways to spice up your recorded lectures, there are plenty of apps available to help you out. And, remember: you’re still teaching. Be yourself, be enthusiastic, and don’t feel like you can’t throw a joke or pun into your script if you think it works. You’re not a robot, after all.
4. Teach Students to be Active Learners
You’ll likely need to dedicate a class period to simply teaching your students how to watch online lectures. It might sound silly, but you’ll be glad you did. Highlighting some of the basic benefits of online lectures, like rewinding or pausing a recorded lecture, will help build the foundation for successful studying.
Remind them that while they learn at home, they should eliminate as many distractions as possible before starting the lesson. Finding a quiet space and turning off cell phones is essential.
Encourage them to take notes while viewing lectures, and let them know when (and how) you are available to answer questions outside of school hours. This will go a long way in helping your students feel more comfortable as they explore a new learning style.
5. For Flipped Classroom Success, Call in the Grown-Ups
It’s no secret that the more engaged parents are in a student’s learning, the more successful they will be. This holds even more true in the flipped classroom model since so much learning will take place at home.
Ensure your students’ grown-ups are in the loop and familiar with how you will run your classroom. Consider building a “Guide to the Flipped Classroom” as a handout for the beginning of the school year that provides resources, best practices, and examples of how the flipped classroom model works.
Suggest ways for families and caregivers to support their students, such as creating a quiet, dedicated working space, encouraging them to watch their online lectures at home, and reminding them to pause and rewind recorded lectures as needed. Remember: it will probably take parents some time to warm up to this new learning model, so be patient and prepared to answer their questions.
Flipping your classroom may seem intimidating at first, but once you and your students get the hang of it, you’ll love the opportunities for deeper, more personalized learning that it opens up.
More Resources on Flipped Classrooms