Academic journal article The Science Teacher

"Flipping" Your Classroom

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

"Flipping" Your Classroom

Article excerpt

"I got stuck." "It wasn't like the problems you showed us in class." "I didn't get it." How often do you hear these responses when asking students about their homework? How many times have you wished you could help confused students as they were doing their work--instead of trying to pick up the pieces the next day?

A few years ago, two chemistry teachers, Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann, were asking themselves these same questions. Their solution was to ask yet another one: "What do [students] need us to be physically present for?" The answer led them to "flip" their teaching--a strategy in which they still provide direct instruction, but not during class. Students watch online lectures at night and teachers spend class time connecting individually with students--through hands-on activities, projects, and tutoring.

"The key ingredient in this model is that teachers no longer lecture," Bergmann explains. "The direct instruction is done via video podcasts made by the teachers. Moving the 30-50 minute lecture outside the classroom frees up teachers to help students master the key concepts in each course." Students are able to watch lectures outside of class, and during class time, they receive the help they need to understand the material.

Bergmann and Sams's flipped classroom model has created a classroom structure that allows students to take responsibility for their learning both inside and outside the classroom. Teachers using the flipped model find that they serve as mentors rather than lecturers. They have time to provide individualized support to all of their students.

Bergmann shared this comment from a teacher he worked with, "I no longer go to work to 'perform' five times a day; instead, I look forward to going [to class] and interacting with my students all day." Students work at their own pace as they watch video podcasts (vodcasts), work on assignments, complete laboratory activities, interact through web-based discussion boards, and master course objectives through one-on-one discussions with their teacher. …

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