One of the newest growing trends in education involves flipping classrooms at a school so that educators prepare online lessons for students to learn new concepts at home, and use classrooms as places where students practice and consolidate their learning. I find this concept intriguing and I do see the benefits; however, I also see the downfalls should an educational framework and accompanying planners not be in place to support teachers. First and foremost is the risk of a disconnect between the different subject areas, secondly the possibility that only select subjects at a school are flipped, and lastly is the likelihood of insufficient differentiated/scaffolded resources for use at home and in the classroom. I believe that these issues can be solved if a school implements a customized version of the proposed Flipped Classroom Framework below:
The above educational framework is generalized as the specifics depend on the individual school. Everything stems from the center – the school’s vision, which defines its philosophy, values, curriculums, etc. Moving outwards from the middle are four subject branches (a school will most likely have more than four subjects – this number was chosen for simplicity’s sake). The subject branches start with “online” because new concepts will first be introduced to students via online resources, and the three-way arrows represent the differentiation/scaffolding of the online content. Once the online materials have been viewed by students, the differentiated/scaffolded activities prepared to consolidate learning will be introduced in class. The circular arrows between the online and in-class learning of a subject represents the continuous cycle of teaching and learning. (home, class, home, class, etc.).
As I mentioned, in addition to solving the issue of differentiating and scaffolding, the Flipped Classroom Framework also addresses how a school can still maintain tight connections between subject areas, and this is depicted by the inner and outer rings of connecting arrows. In order to accomplish this cohesion, transparency and team work would be required amongst mainstream and specialist teachers. For example, imagine that online resources introducing new concepts in math and science are presented to students concurrently, and that these concepts are interconnected! With the above framework model, this would absolutely be possible!
To take things one step further, what if ELL teachers and learning support staff could also be connected to learning happening both online and in the classroom? Again, openness and collaboration amongst staff would need to be in place for this to occur, but envision mainstream and specialist teachers sharing their upcoming online/in class resources with ELL and learning support staff in advance, allowing these teachers to create differentiated/scaffolded videos and materials that would accommodate various student needs! As noted in the Flipped Classroom Framework, the three-way arrows stemming from online and in-class subjects represent differentiation and scaffolding, and there is nothing to say that the teaching goals couldn’t be performed by ELL teachers and learning support staff.
The Flipped Classroom Framework would offer many benefits to any school looking to create a teaching culture in which all subject areas were flipped, and all staff would be collaboratively working towards a common vision. That being said, any educational framework is incomplete without the accompanying individualized teacher planners educators need to implement it. If your school wants to try a new transformational approach to teaching and learning contact us!
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