The Flipped Classroom

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As more students are sucked into technology and away from their studies, educators find themselves searching for ways to restructure their classrooms.

Two Colorado chemistry teachers may have found a way. Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams have devised a new approach they call the Flipped Classroom model, which moves homework into classrooms and lectures into students’ homes.

The Flipped Classroom model has been implemented in schools across the country since its creation in 2004, when Bergmann and Sams employed the approach and reported increased student-teacher interaction. For each lesson, teachers record a lecture that they would have given in class and assign students to watch it online or on DVD in place of homework. In school the next day, teachers give students assignments to review material presented in the lecture and make themselves available to answer individual student questions.

Administrators at Clintondale High School, in Clintondale, MI, created the website www.flippedhighschool.com to demonstrate their use of the Flipped Classroom model. The site has links to lectures for a variety of classes offered at the school, as well as a page that boasts that within the first semester of using the model, failure rates in English classes were reduced by 33 percent.

Marla Robinson, Shaker’s assistant superintendant for secondary education, believes that the Flipped Classroom model might not be the best option for every class. “I don’t think that it’s like a magic bullet that can be sent throughout. It’s something that the teacher would have to want to do,” she said, pointing out that a teacher introducing the Flipped Classroom model would have to work with parents and students for it to be effective. “I don’t think it’s the type of thing that should be required of a person who doesn’t really want to do it.”

However, Robinson does believe that the Flipped Classroom model may be in Shaker’s future. She said, “I’ve found our teachers to be creative; I think someone might come forward to do something like this.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 28 February 2012, on page 11 of The Shakerite.

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