5 Challenges When Flipping Your Classroom

The Flipped Classroom is all the rage in education these days. Let’s take a quick look at what a flipped classroom is and then discover 5 challenges when flipping your classroom.

Briefly, a flipped classroom means you turn traditional instruction and homework on its head. Instruction moves to homework and typical homework activities move to class time. For example, assign an instructional video to teach a concept; then, discuss the concept and engage in guided practice during class.  The benefits are many including more one-on-one time helping students, the ability to customize learning and a more collaborative learning environment.

As you decide if the flipped classroom is right for you and your students, let’s explore 5 challenges when flipping your classroom.

Evaluate student technology access

5 challenges when flipping your classroomFirst, you need to be aware of the access to technology and internet connectivity of your students. You don’t want to assign your students to watch a video on Khan Academy if all your students don’t have a computer and internet at home. Have your students complete a survey that will only be seen by you. Ask questions such as, “Do you have internet access at home?” and “Do you have a TV and DVD player at home?” You will likely have students who don’t have internet access. What can you do? If you are assigning videos, create DVD’s using your PC, Windows Live Movie Maker and Windows DVD Maker. This software is free and is likely already on your computer. Then, before you assign internet videos for the class to watch, privately speak to students who need a DVD, tell them you have everything taken care of and hand them a DVD. They’ll be thrilled you took the time to make sure they are successful.

Go beyond videos

Speaking of videos, flipping your classroom doesn’t just mean assigning a video for homework. Go beyond the “watch a video” mindset and vary instructional methods, just like you do in the classroom. Have students participate in discussions via a classroom blog or with Todaysmeet. Explain concepts on your classroom homepage with text and images. Assign students to rewrite your lesson in a way they understand. Or, try reading and recording your lesson in MP3 format so students can listen and follow along. The bottom line is, change up your instruction and keep your students engaged.

Include accountability

If you assign a lesson for students to do at home, will they do it? Well, maybe! Make sure you build in accountability to ensure your students actual complete the lesson. Assign a short survey after a video is watched, determine criteria for online discussions or throw in a pop quiz at the beginning of class. Active participation in home-based learning is crucial for the flipped classroom to work, assess this work just like you would in the classroom.

Mix and match instruction

Teachers state they start experiencing flipped classroom fatigue and may even abandon the technique. To prevent a growing weariness, ease in the method and don’t start off 100% flipped. Begin with an experimental lesson and then move to a flipped lesson every two weeks. As your success and experience grows, move to once a week. You don’t have to ever change to a completely flipped classroom. Mix and match instruction to meet the needs of your students. Many teachers report a hybrid approach is more successful, less stressful and the variety or instructional methods is preferred by students.

Realize your importance

A common fear of the flipped classroom is the teacher losing relevance. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Your role in creating and curating instructional content is crucial. Only you know your students’ needs and can design instruction to make them successful. In addition, the added one-on-one time spent during guided practice in the classroom strengthens your bonds with your students and allows you to learn even more about their strengths and weaknesses. Your relevance as a teacher in the flipped classroom is so much more than presenting information and assigning homework.

Okay, now you know 5 challenges when flipping your classroom. Please post your comments below! The teachers here at the education blog Teach Amazing would love to know your thoughts!