Flipped Classrooms: Benefits, Strengths & Weaknesses

Instructor: Rachel Tustin

Dr. Rachel Tustin has a PhD in Education focusing on Educational Technology, a Masters in English, and a BS in Marine Science. She has taught in K-12 for more than 15 years, and higher education for ten years.

A new trend in education is the use of flipped classroom models of instruction. While it can be very beneficial to students, teachers, and school districts, it is not a perfect model and can carry significant weaknesses.

The Rise of the Flipped Classroom

With the rise of technology and one-to-one computing in schools, converting the traditional classroom into a flipped one has become a trendy model of instruction in education. A flipped classroom is one where students complete direct instruction independently online, using videos or other technological resources. As a result, time is freed up in the classroom for more engaging activities such as class discussions, projects, and lab experiments. While considered an innovative approach to learning, this model has benefits and weaknesses in its approach to student learning.

Benefits of the Flipped Classroom

There are many reasons why schools are making a shift from traditional teaching methods into a flipped classroom model. In a traditional classroom, a teacher lectures, students practice the material, and finally, they are assessed. However, the students in our classrooms today have been raised in the age of the Internet. Most are adept at using multimedia tools such as YouTube to find the resources they need to help them learn in the classroom. That makes the need for teachers to sit up in front of them and simply present information almost obsolete. There are many advantages of the flipped model for not only students, but teachers and even school districts as well.

Benefits of the Flipped Model to Students

For students, the most profound benefit of a flipped classroom is that they get to take control of their education. They get to control when they review material as well as the pace with which they work through it. For many students, these are key benefits. Think, for example, of special needs students in your classroom. Some children may have concentration issues, such as those diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Some students can blank out during a lecture for a minute and jump right back in. Students with ADD or ADHD might blank out for five minutes and miss out on important concepts. In a flipped classroom model, students can take control of the pace of their learning and give themselves breaks, go back, and review while learning.

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