Teaching and Learning

The Flipped Classroom

The Flipped Classroom model inverts traditional teaching methods, delivering instruction online or in hard copy prior to a lesson and thus reserving class time for collaborative work and concept mastery education. In this blended learning approach, face-to-face interaction is mixed with independent study. Students access background content at home then complete “homework” tasks at school under supervision and armed with at least some background knowledge. VSSEC’s Mission to Mars features pre-mission material which provides online instruction and classroom labs and activities is a good example of a ‘flipped’ classroom. There are more than 2,400 online video lessons available from the Khan Academy.

The Flipped Classroom acts as

  • a means to INCREASE interaction and personalised contact time between students and teachers.
  • an environment in which students take responsibility for their own learning.
  • a classroom in which the teacher is not the “sage on the stage”, but the “guide on the side”.
  • blending of direct instruction with constructivist learning.
  • a classroom in which students who are absent due to illness or extra-curricular activities such as athletics or field-trips, are not left behind.
  • a class in which content is permanently archived for review or remediation.
  • a class in which all students are engaged in their learning.
  • a place in which all students can have access to a personalised education.
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Questions customarily assigned to be completed out of school time are undertaken in class, where students have access to help and guidance from the teacher and the capacity for mutual learning with peers.

The ‘flipped classroom’ was popularised by U.S. chemistry teachers Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. (Flip your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, first published 2012) When they recorded chemistry lectures and made them available online for students who missed class, they discovered that other students also used them. This left more time for hands-on labs or interactive activities during school hours. Student outcomes improved. Bergman believes the biggest impact of flip teaching in his classroom is to increase human contact.