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‘Flipping the Classroom’ Approach is quickly transforming the U.S. Instruction Delivery Practices

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Due to the increasing popularity of blended learning, which combines in-class instructions with the interactivity of new media, and partly because of the success which Salman Khan’s virtual library had, more and more educators today start replacing traditional lectures with video tutorials that students can use in and outside of the classroom. With its help teachers can spend more time interacting with their students directly, practicing some activities instead of simply giving rather impersonal lectures.

The term ‘flipping’ was originally used to describe the nature of such learning process. In ‘flipping classrooms students’ are asked to watch videos and learn theoretical material at home and then do their homework assignment in class, closely supervised by the teacher and supported by classmates. However, it is up to the teacher to decide what form of ‘flipping’ to opt for. Some educators assign video-watching as homework activity, others want their students to watch video tutorials in class, and still there are those who make it optional providing them with useful links and allowing students to choose the source of information they are required to learn.

Just a few years ago the majority of teachers were highly skeptical about the new approach; however, these days a growing number of educators all over the U.S. are adopting the ‘flipped-classroom’ technique to teach a variety of subjects from chemistry, mathematics and computer science to English, history and even gym.

Along with praises there has been much criticism of ‘flipping classrooms’. Some education experts say teachers got the whole idea of ‘flipping’ the wrong way.  What they tried to do was to free children from tedious and much-disliked homework, however, they say, it is not the homework students dislike but the lecture-based teaching format, which remains unchanged.

Another big concern is that this ‘flipping classroom’ approach relies greatly on self-control of students which can be a real challenge for those who lack motivation. The ‘flipping classroom’ environment provides that students should be responsible for their own learning pace which is for some very hard to do.

Still educational policy-makers put some hope on the approach as an effective way to help socioeconomically disadvantaged students to improve their academic performance which was almost impossible to do in traditional classrooms. While some children can rely on their educated parents’ help with homework, others, especially students from less affluent families, receive little or no help at all. The ‘flipped-classrooms’ approach presents equal opportunities for every student to learn some content at home and practice it in-class with their teacher to help them.

 

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