This post is based on an article by Barbi Honeycutt PhD, entitled Five Time-Saving Strategies for the Flipped Classroom. In it, she tackles the most common reason that teachers give for not employing a flipped classroom technique – time. Many teachers feel that they don’t have time to devise so many new teaching strategies, they don’t have time to record and edit videos, they don’t have time to cover everything on the syllabus, or that the whole concept is just too exhausting. Dr. Honeycutt suggests five helpful tips for easing yourself into a flipped classroom environment.
- Find flippable moments – You don’t have to overhaul every lesson and assignment. Start with your existing course and find opportunities to flip the class within it. That way, you’re just concentrating your efforts on a small portion of the course and not exhausting yourself by trying to change it all.
- Make small changes – Once you’ve found opportunities to flip, focus on one lesson and employ one flip strategy. It doesn’t have to be the whole class. It can be two minutes of flipped format mixed in with your usual lecture.
- Build margins into the lesson plan – Dr. Honeycutt explains that margins are the amount allowed beyond what is needed. So, if it takes you five minutes to dove a problem, give the students ten minutes. If your explaining a new activity, give yourself enough time to explain it three times. If you’re trying out new tech, assume that it won’t work the first time. Build these strategies into your new, flipped lesson plan so that you’re not overwhelmed during the class.
- Rethink how your time is defined – If you feel that you don’t have time to plan activities for the flipped classroom, consider this – flipped classroom assignments take time to create, but lectures take time to write also.
- Do less, accomplish more – You don’t need to flip every class every day. Dr. Honeycutt says that by flipping only what needs flipping, by stepping back and doing less, your students will accomplish more.
I think this approach holds opportunities for teachers and students alike because it addresses the most common stumbling block on the road to using a flipped classroom. A lot of times, teachers feel that flipping the classroom is an all or nothing approach. As a result, they are unwilling to employ any flipped classroom assignments/lessons at all. Dr. Honeycutt shows us that we can blend flipped classroom assignments and lessons with our more traditional teaching methods. As a result, we can step back more often and let our students take charge of some of their learning, which will provide a more rich learning and teaching experience for all.
To illustrate, consider vegetarianism. Most people who consider becoming a vegetarian feel that it will be too hard. After all, they would have to revamp all of their recipes, start shopping in different places, maybe they think it’s too expensive. As a result, those same people might give up on the idea before they even try it. But if they would apply Dr. Honeycutt’s approach, they may just end up changing some of their eating habits, eating more vegetables with the meals they’ve already grown accustomed to, and replacing the odd lunch with a heathy salad. By making small changes and blending a vegetarian diet with their existing diet, they will feel the benefits of improved nutrition and be less likely to give up.