Flipped learning — the name says it all. It's a 180-degree shift in
how we approach learning and teaching. Our past way of thinking gets turned on
its head as down becomes up and we reorient ourselves to a new model for student
Many teachers around the globe report smashing success with the
flipped model. D students become A students. Educators on the edge of burnout
find their passion for teaching
rekindled. But the
process of flipping a classroom comes with growing pains, and knowing the
challenges in advance can help you through the transition.
Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams, co-authors of Flip Your
Classroom and instigators of the
flipped revolution, encourage teachers to keep the following in mind as they
embark upon their journey toward flipped
Flipping is a messy process.
A flipped classroom will look and feel different than what you're
used to, especially when you're just getting started. Learning how to make
instructional videos, becoming familiar with the online tools you'll need to
support your new class structure and re-imagining face-to-face time with your
students will require some trial and error.
"It will take time," Sams said. "It's messy. You have to be
comfortable trying things, making mistakes and putting in a lot of work up
front. It takes a lot of time."
It's a game changer for students — and some will hate it.
Many students who have struggled in traditional classrooms are able
to thrive under the flipped model, largely because it gives students more
control over the pace at which they learn. Some, however, may have a difficult
"When kids struggle in school, it's often because they can't keep
up. Having a pause button can really change the game for these kids," Bergmann
said. "The kids who don't like it are usually those who have been successful for
the wrong reasons. They've learned to play the game of school. We're changing
the rules of the game, and some of them don't like
You'll work hard.
The ultimate goal of a flipped classroom is to allow for more
student-driven learning, which means you'll spend the majority of class time
answering questions and helping students progress through their work at
different paces. You'll do a lot of switching
"Coordinating and making sure all students are learning — it's very
hard work," Bergmann said. "You're working with an advanced student one minute
and the lowest student the next. You have to switch your whole mindset from
moment to moment. It's exhausting, but it's best thing I've ever
Your students will work even harder.
In a successful flipped
classroom, you won't find students sitting
back and passively receiving information. Rather, they'll be hard at work
creating projects, solving problems and discussing what they've
"Go sit in on a classroom and watch a flipped class in action,"
Sams said. "The students are the hardest-working people in the classroom, and
that's how it should be."
You'll become even more irreplaceable.
Many educators who are skeptical about flipped learning have posed
the question: If we start delivering lectures via online video, what do we need
The truth is, Bergmann said, we need teachers for much more than
merely delivering content. Rather than making teachers obsolete, flipping allows
them to focus on what they do best: connecting with students and guiding them
through their own process of discovery.
"If you can be replaced by a YouTube video, then maybe you should
be," he said. "If all you do is content delivery, the reality is there's a
YouTube video out there that can do what you do. There's a MOOC that can deliver
content to 2,000 students.
"Coordinating activities that are meaningful and rich, guiding kids
in discussion — these are the things we do best as teachers. The way we
orchestrate activities really is the value that we add for
about flipping? Learn the basics in Flip Your Classroom, the revolutionary book that launched the
flipped movement — and take flipping to the next level with our follow-up
title, Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student