Flipped Classroom Pros and Cons You Must Know

A lady sitting on chair with her laptop studying-Flipped Classroom Pros and Cons You Must Know.
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Before employing flipped classroom approach, it is crucial to understand the flipped classroom Pros and Cons. In educational systems around the world today, the end is the justification for the means. Different methods and systems have been built around achieving the aim of learning, and they are best justified by the results they can produce. 

Learning is no restriction to a classroom setting with a teacher at the front or center, a board, and other writing materials. The aim to impact knowledge is also achievable with the help of the internet and platforms that enable online classes with zero or less need for the traditional board and chalk/marker, school bags, and notebooks arrangement. The flipped classroom is a recent initiative employed to make learning more effective. 

No matter the approach employed to learning, the expectation is to have good results, but a perfect result is never guaranteed. There are always limitations and flaws that eventually lead to other/newer approaches or methods. Hence, the choice to employ flipped classroom approach comes with specific Pros and Cons, which are essential to consider, especially when deciding which approach to employ.

Here is what we will cover in this article:

  1. What is a flipped classroom?
  2. Flipped classroom over time
  3. Flipped classroom Pros and Cons 
  4. Pros
  5. cons
  6. Conclusion

What is a Flipped Classroom?

The flipped classroom is a learner-centered approach, unlike the traditional classroom, where the attention is centered on the teacher. The flipped classroom approach is a teaching and learning method where students learn by reading at their own pace and solving problems or practicing what they have read in the class. 

A flipped classroom uses online lectures to introduce students to the topic and suggest books or videos they can read or check independently. Students’ research at home further helps them to have a vast knowledge about the topic. A traditional classroom confirms and further improves the student’s understanding of the topic. The teacher guides the students mainly in the practical application of the topic. 

Primarily, the flipped classroom improves learning by making the students’ understanding the focus. Teachers usually do this by giving students the liberty to learn based on materials suggested to them virtually. They then practice what they learned under the physical supervision of the teacher. The class activities in the flipped classroom usually include; laboratory experiments, practical presentations, take-home assignments, debates, and group class-works, among others.

The flipped classroom is an approach that emerged as a result of technological advancement. It depends on gadgets like phones and tablets, the internet, and conference calls enabling applications and platforms like zoom and Google meet. Like other approaches to learning, the flipped classroom is not a perfect learning approach; this article examines specific flipped classroom pros and cons. Continue reading.

Flipped Classroom Over Time

After discovering a software tool that allowed the narration and recording of PowerPoint presentations, Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, who were High school teachers from Colorado, invented and pioneered the flipped classroom teaching approach in 2006.

Although the flipped classroom concept began in the 21st century, ideas from the 20th century had existed, which are regarded as major influences to the invention of the flipped classroom approach in 2006. 

Eric Mazur, a Harvard professor, is one of the earliest influences on the development of flipped classrooms. In 1997, he published a book titled Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual, where he regarded his teaching approach as one which enabled him to coach students on what they have learned rather than lecturing.

Based on his teaching method, students obtained information outside the classroom, but assimilation of the information was in class. 

Over time, there have been other contributors to the development of this approach. Still, Bergmann and Sams coined the concept and continued using this approach into 2007 by recording their lectures and posting them online, mainly for students who missed classes. They developed and expounded on the model “Flipped-Mastery” in the book Flip Your Classroom.

Beyond secondary schools, the approach was adopted in different universities worldwide, such as the University of Graz in Australia and MEF University in Turkey. 

Jonathan Bergmann, in 2016 launched an initiative called Flipped Learning Global Initiative, which now delivers training and support worldwide to school systems on the Flipped classroom approach.

Flipped Classroom Pros and Cons 

With the lockdowns resulting from the COVID19 pandemic, many schools worldwide now make use of online classes or recorded lessons that primarily promote the adoption of flipped classroom approach into many school systems. However, it is crucial before employing this approach to know the Flipped classroom Pros and Cons.

Pros of the Flipped Classroom Approach

Enhances Communication

Flipped classroom imbibes the use of a wide range of methods and brings together different forms of learning. It uses videos and other digital means as well as traditional notes and classroom teaching. It pays attention to the theoretical part of teaching and the practical, which helps aid learning. For instance, students who find it hard to comprehend by reading notes can better understand the practical sessions. 

Includes all forms of learning

Flipped classroom imbibes the use of a wide range of methods and brings together different forms of learning. It uses videos and other digital means as well as traditional notes and classroom teaching. It pays attention to the theoretical part of teaching and the practical, which helps aid learning. For instance, students who find it hard to comprehend by reading notes can better understand the practical sessions. 

It makes lessons easily accessible

Students can easily access the lessons as long as students can access the technology used in joining virtual classes. They can also download lessons and listen to them over again for better comprehension.

Students’ preparedness before class

One of the significant advantages of the flipped classroom is that students learn before going to class. Therefore, they are prepared and knowledgeable about the topic before having a physical class. It makes the class more interactive and focuses the classes solely on helping the students understand and comprehend better what they already know.

No limits to acquirable knowledge

Students are not limited to the knowledge teachers make available but can read wide and extra on the topic taught. It provides students with a broad scope of knowledge rather than being limited to class notes or a particular textbook.

Students have control over learning  

Before the invention of the flipped classroom, teachers had total control over learning, and many times it worked to the detriment of many students. Students differ in terms of comprehension; some students comprehend faster while others at a slower pace. Flipped classrooms make it possible for students to pause, re-start, rewind, re-play, and control the lesson videos to have a sound understanding of what is being taught at their different pace of comprehension. Hence, it gives students some level of control over their learning.

It makes learning convenient in terms of distance to learning centers (school)

The use of virtual classes helps students learn from their houses’ comfort. It makes learning more convenient for those who have to journey a long distance from home to school daily.

More free time

Flipped classrooms also give both students and teachers more free time. Once a teacher records a class, he has more free time while the students access the recorded video. Students also get to have classes at their own time, thereby having control over when they take the class, how long they spend in class, and their time to research further or do other things as a matter of choice. 

Missing classes are reduced

Students who are ill or temporarily indisposed miss classes automatically in the traditional classroom setting. In the flipped classroom approach, students have their classes from home, and this makes it possible for those who are ill or indisposed to watch the class at home or download the class to watch it later. As a result, students hardly have any reason to miss any class.

It is very efficient

Over the years, the flipped classroom approach has been very efficient for learning. A survey was carried out in Australia at the University of Graz. It was discovered that students who access recorded classes and watched the videos performed better than other students who did not. Interestingly, class attendance for students who often access recorded classes was the same for students who scarcely watched the recorded classes.

Cons of the Flipped Classroom Approach

Expensive

As a result of the difference in financial capacity, some students may not afford the technological gadgets and devices needed to access the recorded classes and miss out on the lessons taught.

Time-consuming

 As much as flipped classroom learning makes more free time available to students and teachers, the learning process is time-consuming. Students spend time going through the recorded lessons, read further on the topic, and finally spend time in class to discuss the topic and go through necessary practical sessions.

Students’ preparation for tests

In some cases, students under flipped classrooms essentially read independently or with study groups in the class. Students may focus their test preparation on a different area from the teacher’s. In the case of tests, the area of focus of the teacher is more important as he will set the question(s).

Reduces speed of assimilation

Although students assimilate at a different pace, the relaxed state feeling of being at home can reduce the speed at which students assimilate.

It is difficult to guarantee that students are going through the lessons

Because teachers cannot physically supervise the students watching the lessons, it is difficult to guarantee if they watch them.

A potential threat to teachers’ employment

Flipped classroom learning encourages the replacement of teachers with recorded lessons and real human beings with videos and audio. With time, if adopted massively worldwide, it might eventually cause a drastic reduction in the employment rate in the education sector.

The process can be cumbersome for teachers

There is a need to prepare a teaching guide, make and upload lesson videos, prepare for and take classes. Teaching under the flipped classroom approach, therefore, becomes cumbrous and can make teaching more stressful.

No guarantee for better performance

No matter the approach used in teaching, you cannot guarantee students’ performance as they learn in different capacities. Their performance may vary based on other factors like; the teacher’s proficiency.

Technical know-how

Some parents and teachers may not be vast at setting up and using the technological devices and platforms involved in flipped classroom learning. Teachers who are not technologically literate may require extra training time and cost.

Negative effect on social life

Readily in the 21st century, people often glue themselves to screens and lose touch with the immediate society. Flipped classroom learning further affects students’ social life as they spend close to 80% of their time daily looking at their phone, tablet, or laptop screen at the expense of talking to and meeting real-life people.

Conclusion

The flipped classroom is inarguably a practical learning approach like the traditional approach before it. It is also inevitably flawed like the traditional approach before it. However, for understanding and before employing the approach, it is crucial to consider the flipped classroom Pros and Cons.

The proper response to the approach’s limitations should be to put things in place to ensure the identified lapses are covered up and not to disregard the approach. 

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