Flipped Classroom Benefits, from PreK to Med School

Chrissie Wywrot is a freelance writer and social media expert with focuses on LinkedIn profile development and blogging. She is also an advocate for The ChadTough Foundation which raises funds and awareness for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG. Learn more about Chrissie and her business at chrissiewywrot.com.

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By: Chrissie Wywrot
flipped classroom benefits

The so-called “flipped classroom” — engaging in group activities during class time and studying material at home — is increasing in popularity from PreK all the way up to higher learning.

It’s no wonder since the standard lecture leaves plenty to be desired. Sure, there are some professors who can command a room — typically their classes are famous — but the majority of standard college lectures leave much to be desired.

Students are point blank more stimulated when they are involved in classroom activities, conversation, and the exchange of ideas.

Is it really that surprising?

Surgical Schooling

It is for that reason that the University of Virginia redesigned its method of teaching its medical students.

“The traditional coursework model has been turned upside down at UVa and stand-alone courses such as anatomy are no more,” reads a blog on k12albemarle.com. “Instead, the new curriculum focuses on the critical nature of understanding and using integrated content relevant to working with patients.”

This is great news from those of us planning to be patients! The last thing we want is a physician who slept through medical school as a result of boring lectures.

Instead of lectures, these students are working on full-body mannequins to simulate real-life medical conditions within the Simulation Center.

“During my first two years in medical school, all I learned was rote regurgitation of content,” said Dr. Keith Littlewood, Director of the Simulation Center. “Today you will see different access to learning … When learners believe in their learning, they invest.”

Stop Short-Changing Students

If a flipped classroom is good enough for medical students, why not a third grader? Or a middle schooler? The practice not only inspires deeper learning, it is reflective of how we hope students will live out their professional lives – striving to gain more knowledge on their own time.

Clintondale High School just north of Detroit, Mich. became the very first completely-flipped school in the United States in 2010. The principal was inspired after using the flipped method for his 11-year-old’s baseball team. The players would watch the instructional videos and then engage in hands-on work during practices.

Now all courses are taught that way, garnering national news attention.

Flipped Classroom Benefits

How do flipped classrooms help students? Here are a few ways:

  • Pace. A student must interrupt a teacher in class to request something be said again, risking ridicule and embarrassment by classmates. A student need only re-watch a video at home for review in a flipped environment.
  • Mastery. In a standard classroom, time is the constant and learning is the variable. In a flipped classroom, the opposite is true.
  • “When each fifth grader masters prime factorization, for instance, he moves on to greatest common factors, each at his own pace,” writes Tina Rosenberg in her New York Times article in 2013.
  • A student cannot simply turn in a shoddy paper, take the D and move on,” she continues. “If she turns in shoddy work, she can’t move on. She has to keep trying until she demonstrates she fully understands.”
  • Collaboration. Students work with one another on learning activities, reflecting a professional environment.

Do you agree with the flipped classroom model? Why or why not?

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