Flip Your classroom!

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For centuries, we have been following the same teaching pattern, giving lecture in class and assigning homework for students to do after. But, it is time to think out of the box. Let’s flip the classroom!
If you haven’t heard of it, you should definitely look into and try it in your own classroom.
That is to say, students will have the lecture before class, and do “homework” in class.
I really like this idea as it is a common problem that students don’t know how to put the knowledge learned into practice, or even capture the key points by simply attending lectures. In China, where the educational system is very exam-oriented, it is not difficult for students to get good scores, but hard to perform well in practice. What is the use of learning if you can’t even apply it? By having the students discuss and practice what they learned from lectures viewed before class, the application ability gets improved. Besides, it is beneficial for the teachers, too.

Devoting class time to application of concepts instead of giving lectures might give instructors a better opportunity to detect errors in thinking so the help provided by teachers can be altered and teachers’ value can be maximized.
However, there are drawbacks of this method. Without proper instructions, students may complain about using public lecture videos as they think it is something they can do on their own without paying tuition. Flipping the classroom is passing more responsibilities on to the students. Motivating them to complete the lectures before class is an issue. The workshop can not lead to a good result if students come to class unprepared or even skip the class.
Homework, in my mind, has always been a chore, an assignment, a must-do because it takes up some percentage of the final score. Ask yourself three questions first:
  • If a student does their homework, does that make them a ‘better’ student than one that does not?
  • Does completed homework assignment indicate that a student has learned the material?
  • Does the student need homework to understand the material at hand?

Homework is indeed necessary. The purpose of it should be enhancing the newly-learned knowledge and help students detect unsolved problems. We should keep in mind that everyone is different, and assigning the same homework for everyone is not meeting individual’s needs. When designing the homework, the easier way to do it is to think about its purpose, that is to examine if the students have truly understood the concept.

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3 thoughts on “Flip Your classroom!

  1. anciana

    You have pointed out several advantages and disadvantages of a flipped classroom. One you mention is that the same homework will not “work” for everyone. Perhaps we could give students a choice of a variety of ways to learn something.

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    • I agree. Offering more than just on type of homework and giving students the right to choose will be one solution. But there is a risk, as we are passing the responsibilities onto the students and give them the right to choose. Of course, we expect them to choose the one that is the best for them, however, we can’t rule out the possibility that they might choose the easiest one or the one they are most familiar with. Our goal of making them practice what they are not so good at and detecting their unsolved problems won’t be met. I think the students’ motivation would be the biggest issue using this method to assign homework.

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      • anciana

        I agree that it is very difficult to encourage an unmotivated student to do any type of assignment. However, as teachers, we have to continually look for ways to motivate them whether it be through engaging assignments or through quizzes based on the assignments.

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