A current new topic in education is the notion of “The Flipped Classroom.” Essentially, the idea of flipped classroom teaching is for students to take a portion of their learning into their own hands. The students then apply this self-acquired knowledge in a guided, teacher-directed environment. In a flipped classroom, students are asked to do some of their learning in their own time or at home, so that they come to school with the background knowledge necessary to engage in group learning experiences. For example, students may be asked to do research on a topic, watch videos, listen to podcasts, or complete background reading outside of class, so that the actual time spent with the teacher can be spent in teacher-student conferences, group discussion, peer group analysis, collaborative work, or involvement in hands-on activities.
There are a number of positive outcomes relating to flipped classroom teaching. Advocates say that flipped-classroom teaching provides students with pride and ownership over their learning. It makes learning, rather than teaching, the centre of the student experience at school. It allows students to come to class much better prepared with the knowledge necessary for the lesson being taught that day, and it gives teachers more one-on-one time with students who require further explanation. For students who have a firm grasp on the background knowledge, they can explore further learning opportunities, and the flipped classroom provides differentiated learning opportunities. Students can work at their own pace, asking questions when necessary, and moving forward with additional projects once the necessary knowledge has been obtained.
There also some potential negatives of the flipped classroom that have been identified. Some educators argue that this model limits the vital role of teachers in delivering information to students in a meaningful way. Also, some students are left to continue their schoolwork without teacher observation at home, thus taking away the opportunity for the teacher to observe and contribute to the full learning process. Further, some argue that flipped classroom teaching can erode family time as well as the opportunity for students to engage in extra-curricular activities.
We believe in a well-rounded approach to our teaching methods and standards. Our teaching team continuously assesses and embraces new and better ways to augment our students’ learning experience. The flipped classroom approach is one to consider, as a complement, not a replacement, for our current teaching practices. Asking students to complete research at home, or watch a teacher-created video in order to provide background knowledge on a topic prior to a lesson being taught, is a great way to advance student independence. This practice continues to be implemented when and where needed, provided that it results in better academic outcomes for our students.
For further information on the flipped classroom experience, please refer to the diagram below and to the website:
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