By Bill Tucker
Bergmann and Sams stumbled across the idea of a flipped classroom because they were struggling to find the time to reteach lessons for absent students.
The advantages of it are the class becomes the place to work through problems, advance concepts, engage in collaborative learning and maximise the scarcest learning-resource time.
Bergmann was able to check their notes and required each student to come to class with a question to think more deeply about the content. He could easily query individual students, probe for misconceptions and clear up incorrect notions. Bergmann also had the time to work individually with every student. He quoted "I talk to every student in every classroom every day."
He notes he now spends more time with struggling students and advanced students have more freedom to learn independently. The new arrangement fosters better relationships; there is greater student engagement and higher levels of motivation.
Other teachers incorporating the method have discussed how it poses a tremendous instructional challenge on how to explain a concept in a clear, concise, bite-sized chunk.
However, the flipped classroom approach runs the risk of being falsely pigeon-holed into one of educations many false dichotomies and can be seen as another front in a false battle between teachers and technology.