Articles for Teachers
Ever since the inception of Education Technology, if there is one thing that has caught the eye of most educators, it is flipped learning. For those who aren’t aware of flipped learning, it is an interesting approach to teaching that defies the conventional style of classroom learning involving lectures in class and assigning homework to students.
In short, flipped classroom is a technique where students learn their lessons at home by watching videos, presentations, etc., and discuss about what they have learnt with their teacher in classroom. Since it turns the traditional teaching method on its head, it is called flipped learning.
In order to make the most of flipped learning, one needs to understand the dynamics of flipped classroom. Here are a few things that one needs to understand about flipped classroom:
It is not about the video
Ever since the flipped classroom came into existence, I see that there is a lot of emphasis on video-based learning. Teachers feel the pressure to summarize the lesson via a visual medium. The truth is that not many educators are comfortable facing the camera and most of them are clueless about adding animation and graphic attributes to their video lessons. But here’s the most important thing that one needs to understand about flipped classroom: It is not about the video!
Lessons can be summarized in the form of power point presentations, audio podcast and existing Youtube videos on the topic. It is not even necessary for a teacher to face the camera for creating video lessons. For my flipped classroom session, in order to improve student engagement, I had even designed an online quiz by using flashcard sites like Cram.com. The beauty of the flipped classroom is that it gives room for educators to experiment with their lessons. So instead of fretting about perfecting the art of creating a video lesson, teachers should focus on the core principle of flipped learning, which is to facilitate an in-depth discussion between students and teacher on the topics learnt at home.
Teacher’s transformation from guru to guide
For years, teachers have been following the conventional teaching style of giving lectures in classrooms and assigning homework. Teachers have been considered as gurus and their words usually go unchallenged. But with flipped classroom, it is necessary for teachers to undergo transformation from being a sagely guru to a gentle guide as there is tremendous emphasis on classroom discussion between students and teacher. As a teacher who practices flipped classroom, one has to let go of any ego and give up the title of Mr/Ms. Know It All. This transformation is quintessential for getting the dynamics of flipped learning right!
Students in charge of their learning
In a traditional classroom setup, teachers are deemed responsible for the learning of students. Teachers need to ensure that each and every student grasps the concepts that are taught in class. But in a flipped classroom, students are in charge of their learning. Since flipped classrooms provide personalized learning opportunities, each student can take their own time to grasp the complexities of a subject. And since the study material and tutorials are posted online, students have the choice to go through it at their own time and own pace. Flipped classrooms not only provide personalized learning opportunities to students, they also improve student engagement as kids prefer watching videos or fun presentations online rather than listening to teacher’s lectures in a classroom. And when students become in charge of their learning, they will have more questions that can be cleared in the classroom after an insightful discussion with the teacher. As a teacher who is about to dabble with flipped classroom, it is important to make your students excited about the process and empower them be the in charge of their own learning.
Flip. Fail. Repeat till you succeed.
We have all heard of rhetorical statements like ‘Never give up’, ‘Failure is stepping stone to success’, etc. But these statements hold true in everything we do in real life and a flipped classroom is no different. I had a tough time transitioning from conventional teaching to flipped learning as I was totally in the dark about how to present my lesson in the form of an interesting online video or audio podcast. It took me 5-6 bad sessions to get the dynamics of flipped classrooms right. And after every unsatisfactory session, I used to make it a point to not to repeat the same mistakes and improve my shortcomings. So, if any teacher is planning to give up after one or two attempts, my advice is to not lose faith in the process after initial hiccups. It takes some time to understand the dynamics of flipped classroom and once you get it right, you will be truly amazed by the magic of flipped learning.