The flipped classroom has been around for probably close to 15 years. In the education realm, it's not a brand-new concept, but it is one that is gaining traction with more and more teachers because of the many ways it can improve classroom engagement and the performance of students.
However, there are quite a few misconceptions about the flipped classroom that prevent teachers from even considering it. In this post, I want to flush out those misconceptions so that teachers can consider flipping for what it truly is.
First thing's first. Let's start with the big one. I like to address the elephant in the room, and this is definitely one of them. Here's why... because it does take time. Flipping your classroom very much takes time to craft and master. But here's the thing - it's not that it take more time, it is a trade off in time spent.
The big goal of the business world is to be cognizant of and have a fantastic return on investment (ROI), right?!? Right. Well this isn't the business world, and there aren't any teachers making huge investments in their classroom that they will then see a financial return on. Nope, not happening... because that's just not the way it works.
But, as teachers, we can still think about our ROI... the investment not being financial, rather it being our time.
The impression around the world about how teachers can be more effective is that if they just had more time. If they had more time for training and professional development. If they had more time with their students on a daily basis. If they had more time to grade, lesson plan, collect and respond to data, etc.
This is all true. If we had more time, we could be more effective. The same could be said about money. Right?
I'm hoping that last comment made you a little skeptical there. We can't just throw more time and money at a problem (or something we just want to improve) and expect it to be fixed. No. We need to be intentional with both of these resources.
Now, we both know that we teachers don't have a ton of money to be throwing at our classrooms. Nor should we throw our own money at it. But, we do have something that is very powerful... our time.
I want you to be able to see the return you gain by each and every time investment you make in your classroom. No longer should you say to yourself when faced with an issue you want to resolve in your classroom, "Well, I'll just put in some more time, work a little harder to accomplish X, and then I'll see the benefits."
Your time and your hard work are going to run out. And you're not going to make it 30+ years in this career field. Retirement? What? What's that? You can barely get past this week at the pace you're working... am I right?
The flipped classroom is essentially you being intentional with your time investment, allowing you to have bigger returns on your time investment than you've probably ever had.
Can I be really transparent here? Ok, good. Here I go - initiate see through mode.
This was one of my misconceptions. I believed that not lecturing in the class would be catastrophic while also knowing that I could NOT go another day lecturing every single bell. I couldn't physically do it. Or, maybe I could, but I wouldn't last in the teaching field if that's what I continued to do day in and day out.
How in the WORLD will my students know what they need to know if I don't tell them what it is? I felt pressure to be more project based, to not lecture or directly instruct hardly ever, and I just was not comfortable with that.
Enter the flipped classroom model.
It was the happy medium between me lecturing every single bell, every single day and me completely giving up control and never talking about the content with my students.
The biggest attractor for me was that they would still get the content from me! To me, that was huge. I didn't want the disconnect of my students not getting content from me... maybe that continues my status as a control freak, but, you know, I came to terms with it long ago.
They still saw my face, heard my voice, and benefitted from my quirkiness that they would've experienced in the classroom. I continued to build the connection in the classroom, I would argue, maybe even more so than in the traditional classroom because they connected with me in a video outside of class, and then again in class when they were working with the hard parts of the content - applying it - and were able to ask me their individual questions.
So, did I give up a little control. Maybe a little. But in return, I was able to make more connections with each kid in my room.
Here I go being super transparent again. Ready?
At first, it totally did. The amount of homework in my class just about doubled.
Woah. I write that in this post and shake my head at myself. I tend to have a more lenient perspective on homework than most, so those of you who don't probably don't understand why I would shake my head at that, but I can tell you that with double the homework, I saw the effects on my students.
This is exactly why in my online course, Flipped Classroom Formula, where I walk teachers through, step-by-step how to flip their classrooms, I teach to be super intentional with homework in your flipped classroom so as to optimize it's effect without delegitimizing your entire flipped classroom strategy.
So what does it mean to be intentional with homework in your flipped classroom? Minimize it. Think about the definition of the flipped classroom. It means that students are now doing what they normally do at home (practice and application in traditional homework), in class, and what they normally do in class (lecture), at home.
Make sure that what they normally did in class (lecture) is ALL they do at home now.
I'll be real honest here... it can be. The flipped classroom can be more work on the teacher's part than the work required for most traditional classrooms.
That's why in my Flipped Classroom Formula, one of the most important aspects of the formula that I teach is to simplify and systemize aspects of your classroom so that you have the impact without the added work.
Just as in the business world, companies or individuals wouldn't keep investing and investing in the same company when it's not succeeding, teachers can NOT keep investing their time over and over again until they are totally and utterly gassed.
Yes, teachers are the number one influence on student learning, but that doesn't mean you have to work any harder than your students do at mastering the content. That doesn't mean you have to put in double the time to have the same result.
In the Flipped Classroom Formula, week by week I take you through not only how to flip your classroom, but how to do it without making it a ton more work.
I'll return to the first point I made in this post. I want you to have more return on your time and work investment.
Going at this alone, flipping your classroom without guidance from someone who has done it before is going to be a ton of work and a ton of trial-and-error for a few years until you finally get it right.
Don't let the first few years of your flipped classroom make your students out to be the sacrificial lamb of your trial-and-error phase while you figure it out. It doesn't have to be that way. And, just as I explained in last week's post, you shouldn't have to go it alone. When it comes to making big impact and the "how" of changes in your classroom to benefit teachers, you shouldn't have to figure it out on your own.
For some students, you're right... some of them either won't watch the videos or will struggle to watch videos consistently. But can't you say that about any work (class work or homework) in the traditional classroom?
I should say, though, that in my almost ten years of flipping my classroom, I can probably count on one hand the number of students who "resisted" the flipped classroom, and that's only if I try really hard to recall who they were.
If this is a source of resistance for you in flipping your classroom, I want you to know that you have almost complete control over this one. It's all in the way you present it to your students.
If you approach flipping your classroom with a negative energy, doubting if students will do the work, hesitating around its effectiveness, then you will be correct. If you approach it having complete confidence in the flipped classroom strategy and in yourself to implement those strategies effectively, you automatically set up your flipped classroom for success, especially when it comes to the rate of student engagement and participation.
The important strategies are crucial to an effective flipped classroom, but even more so, your confidence level has an even greater impact. And that's what I teach and build with you in the Flipped Classroom Formula. In this online course, it's not only about creating videos. To be honest, that's the easiest part of flipping. It's also about the organization of your flipped classroom, strategies to empower your students to take control of their learning, and building your confidence in the flipped classroom strategies and systems used to ensure success.
... from your couch :). What's better than a little pd in your jammies where you can learn some impactful strategies and get some CEU's from the comfort of your home?
If this post or any of the posts I've been making lately about the flipped classroom have resonated in a way that leaves you with some questions or a tinge of curiosity on if or how the flipped classroom might work for you, I want to invite you to one of my upcoming webinars, "3 Behind-the-Scenes Insights To Flipping Your Classroom" that start September 30th.
It is a LIVE webinar where I will show up on your computer screen from my home office and talk to you about 3 insights I gained from flipping my classroom for almost 10 years. These insights are ones I reserve for my webinar, and will make big impact on your flipping journey. Plus, if you show up live and stick around till the end, I will send you a certificate of completion that you can send to your administration for some coveted CEU's... cha ching right??? Not really, but hey, it's something.
Plus, if you're there and stick with me - which I totally think you will because it's great, practical training - I'll have a little surprise for you.
When you're ready, click the image below to get signed up. More dates will become available, but for now you'll just see the first couple slots. Teachers who have attended my webinars in the past have shared how practical and applicable they were. Meaning, they could walk into their classroom the next day with a new strategy and definitely a new way of thinking about their classroom.
I hope to see you there.
Until next time,
P.S. Don't forget our usual weekly Facebook Live session where we'll discuss these 5 myths and answer ANY and ALL of your questions about the flipped classroom. That will be this Wednesday evening at 8pm EST over in The Flipped Teacher. See you there, my friend.