“Flipped schools,” where students watch video lessons at home and do “homework” in class, are showing early promise in improving learning.
At Clintondale Higher School, north of Detroit, the entire curriculum was "flipped" three years ago; and they like the results:
This is the second and far more important shift that comes with flipped classrooms: it frees up class time for hands-on work. Students learn by doing and asking questions — school shouldn’t be a spectator sport. ”A lot of people think it just has to do with technology,” said Kim Spriggs, who teaches business and marketing. “It’s actually more time for kids to do higher-order thinking and hands-on projects. Instead of presenting the information in class and having students work on projects at home, where they don’t necessarily have support, here in class, one-on-one or in small groups, I can help them immediately.” Students can also help each other, a process that benefits both the advanced and less advanced learners.
Flipping also changes the distribution of teacher time. In a traditional class, the teacher engages with the students who ask questions — but it’s those who don’t ask who tend to need the most attention. “We refer to ‘silent failers,’ ” said Spriggs. “Now it’s a lot harder for students to hide. The teacher can see pretty much where every student’s understanding is and how to help them. It’s a huge difference for students who didn’t seek out extra help and attention — who just sit back and keep silent.”
Clintondale’s experience indicates that the biggest effect of flipping classrooms is on the students at the bottom. “It’s tough to fail a flipped class, because you’re doing the stuff in here,” said Rob Dameron, the head of the English department. “I used to have about a 30 percent failure rate in English – these kids come in a lot at third-grade, fourth-grade reading levels. Now, out of 130 kids, I have three who are failing — mostly due to attendance problems.”