Flipped Classes: Turning Tradition Education On Its Head

by SOPHIA HELLER '17

With the new technological advances that are constantly improving modern society, a new era has begun to arise in the field of education. Flipped classes have taken the classroom by storm and are revolutionizing the way students are learning across the country.

“A flipped class is a class in which students do what is traditionally done at home at school, and do what is traditionally done at school at home,” says math teacher Ms. Baker. The idea behind flipped classes is to allow for more interactive learning in the classroom and to make the best use of the resources provided by the school environment.

As students and teachers explore the possibilities of this new learning technique, opinion is still sharply divided about its inception into modern schooling.

There are many benefits and concerns that are associated with incorporating this type of learning into the everyday classroom. One of the major pros attributed to a flipped class is the presence of the teacher and other students when learning and practicing challenging or confusing material, increasing the student’s ability to ask and receive answers to questions. Ms. Baker adds, “It allows students to practice collaboratively in class with support and immediate feedback to any questions.”

Ms. Matthews, IT Coordinator, suggests that “Flipped classes allow for more class time to be spent on labs; instead of having to explain the subject matter, students come into class prepared for the lab to demonstrate what they have learned.”

However, there are concerns about this innovative technique, starting with the required adjustment period. “It is more work initially for the teacher,” said Ms. Matthews, “and some students will always be resistant to the change.” Ms. Baker observed the technique in her own classes and felt that there is a need for pre-teaching in class during more difficult material to prevent student frustration in self-teaching. New ideas can be challenging to anyone, and combining a new way of learning with new information can at times be overwhelming. Despite these drawbacks, advocates across the country in the education system are willing to try some of the techniques involved.

In relation to the ups and downs of flipped classes, science teacher Mr. Simcoe feels that the pros outweigh the cons, and that as a teacher, it creates a wide variety in the day for students, an idea that he finds important. Ms. Matthews comments that “Anything that takes the grinding lecture out of the classroom and puts it elsewhere is nice.”

Much of the idea of a flipped class is dependent on the teachers and the students, which maintains the question of the benefit for all students. Rightly so, there is a clear mix of opinions among the three teachers subject to interview of what they would have preferred had they had the option while they were students. While each presented a unique perspective, there is a general consensus that, had the technology been around, flipped classes might have been welcomed in the past. Although the concept of flipping classes is still relatively new and experimental, it is a major step in the development of current education and will continue to be seen in the future.