This is a guest post by Amy Hunt, site administrator and assistant principal of California Connections Academy @ Ripon..
The idea of a flipped classroom, while a foreign concept to some, is gaining traction in education with its implications to improve learning outcomes.
Teachers and students throughout America are trying out this model in a range of settings – from brick and mortar classrooms, to homeschooling, and online school. Even families with children who are not currently learning in this way can find ways to incorporate this unique learning method in their own education. At California Connections Academy @ Ripon, we have implemented this technique into our mathematics coursework and teachers are finding the approach supports student learning, and improves students’ retention of concepts.
With the flipped classroom teaching model, students are presented lesson content prior to attending the class where that content will be discussed in greater depth. This gives students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with key concepts and content and have questions prepared for when they meet with their teacher and classmates. Class time shifts from teacher lecture (since concepts have already been introduced) to opportunities for more in-depth discussion and collaboration about the topic. According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the benefits of a flipped classroom include improved test scores and student attitudes, which are a few of the reasons we’ve been exploring flipped classrooms to determine what works best for our students. A flipped classroom is also similar, and can further prepare students for the way curriculum is commonly delivered in colleges and universities, and allows students to use classroom and teacher time more efficiently.
Teachers in traditional school settings, along with homeschool instructors, can also use this model to enhance engagement with their lessons. Though not every subject works well flipped, we’ve found that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts lend themselves particularly well to the flipped classroom. Teachers of STEM classes also benefit from this model because they have more freedom to tailor the pace and focus of class time, based on feedback from students, following the pre-class assignment.
In our math classes using flipped learning, teachers typically record and send students a 10-20 minute video lesson that students are asked to view prior to attending a meeting with their class online. After reviewing this video lesson and completing any assigned pre-class work, students come to their online classroom session ready to discuss, and get any needed clarification on, the lesson content. Class time shifts from being teacher-centered to be student-centered.
For parents with children not currently in a classroom using the flipped classroom model, you can still incorporate this concept into your student’s learning. We encourage families to take a look at upcoming chapters and lessons, to acquaint themselves, and even create supplemental learning activities, as appropriate. Whether supporting a flipped learning plan delivered by their school, or integrating it into the home, here are some tips for parents to set students up for success:
- Get Connected: Exploring online resources dedicated to flipped learning can help families find strategies that work for their child’s learning style and skillset. The Flipped Learning Network is a good starting point for families looking for examples, books, webinars, events and more on flipped learning. If you’re an active Twitter user, consider joining the weekly #Flipclass chat on Twitter on Mondays at 5 p.m. PDT, to connect with others interested in the flipped learning model.
- Team Up with Teachers: Even if your child’s teachers are not working under the flipped classroom model, they are a great resource for insights on lesson plans and recommended activities to augment learning.
- Offer Hands-On Support: While many students may prefer parents step back, offer to assist. This encouragement will make them feel supported, and is a good way to see if another flipped learning method could work better for a particular subject or lesson.
- Keep Communication Open: In any new learning method, it’s always best to communicate with your child about what is working well and what could be improved. Flipped learning and any supplemental activities should feel helpful and worthwhile to your student, so it’s crucial to stay in tune with their thoughts and needs.
Just taking a few minutes out of each day to preview upcoming concepts and review those already learned can make a difference in rounding out understanding and committing concepts to memory. Besides the additional practice that flipped learning provides, this model cultivates a sense of problem-solving and ownership of their education for students – which is an important quality in both education and life.
Amy Hunt is the site administrator and assistant principal of California Connections Academy @ Ripon, a tuition-free online public school serving students in grades K–12 in Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties. The school provides students with the flexibility to learn from anywhere with an innovative curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. California Connections Academy opened in 2012 and is authorized under state law by the Ripon Unified School District and fully accredited (grades K-12) by the Schools Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). At California Connections Academy, Hunt enjoys working with a dedicated team of teachers and administrators to create a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education.