Benefits of the Flipped Classroom Model

Benefits of the Flipped Classroom Model

Marie Larcara
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4987-3.ch007
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With the advent of new technologies and the move for faculty to implement these into their teaching practice, a new model for course design and delivery has developed called the flipped classroom model. As more instructors investigate this model, the benefits, which include classroom management, active learning, critical thinking, and maximum use of student-faculty time together, become obvious. With classroom sizes increasing, more instruction moving online, and resources dwindling, the flipped classroom model can be an improved model for both instruction and quality learning. Research supports the benefits of the flipped classroom, but the change from a traditional classroom model to a flipped model requires a pedagogical shift on the part of both teacher and learner.
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There’s a reason so many have latched on to the concept of the flipped classroom. And, there is a reason many K-12 teachers have moved, or are moving to this model. As early as the nineties, Nancy Atwell (1998) wrote about the reading/writing workshop. This method, at the time, was not called “flipping,” but it most certainly follows what later teachers came to define as a flipped classroom (Bergmann, 2013). The workshop method asks that teachers essentially watch students read and write in class, using mini-lessons as the basis for teaching, rather than period-long lectures (Atwell, 1998). When I begin teaching in 1993, the workshop method and “flipping” were not on my radar. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was a constructivist, believed strongly in student choice whenever possible, and embraced the idea that students need to connect on a personal level with the content for it to move into their own world. Many of us have a story to share of our early teaching experiences, and I am no exception. I was an adult when I returned to earn my teacher certification. As a newly certified high school English teacher, I felt confident in my skills. Unlike my peers in education classes, I did not suffer the learning curve with time management, organization, lesson planning, or classroom management. One of my first assignments was a long-term substitute middle school language arts classroom where I was informed I was the third teacher that year. I came in to the situation in April, with just about three months of instruction time left in the year. I was told the class was “troublesome” but not given many details beyond that. After more than one violent outburst, and a situation that had to involve many parents, social workers, and the school psychologist, I realized this class needed something different. There was daily violence, little respect for each other or me, and more than a few students at risk of failing. Reaching out to a mentor, it was suggested I look into Atwell (1998) and a reading/writing workshop method. Of course I did not know it, but this was to be my first experience with a flipped classroom. In my dog-eared, coffee-stained copy of In the Middle (Atwell, 1998), the author begins the text with these words:

These days, I learn in my classroom. What happens there has changes; it continually changes. I’ve become an evolutionist, and the curriculum unfolds now as my kids and I learn together. My aims stay constant-I want us to go deep inside language, using it to know wand shape and play with our worlds-but my practices evolve as eighth graders and I do deeper. This going deeper is research, and these days my research shows me the wonders of my kids, not my methods. But it has also brought me full circle. What I learn with these students, collaborating with them as a writer and reader who wonders about writing and reading, makes me a better teacher-not great maybe, but at least grounded in the logic of learning, and growing. (p. 3)

What Atwell is telling us here, years before we named it “flipping,” is essentially that we must work and learn with our students, not at them if we are to grow as professionals and put their learning at the forefront of our teaching practice. This was transformative for me as a new teacher and I dove in.

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