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Report: The 4 Pillars of the Flipped Classroom

Though all classrooms are different, there are four critical elements that successful flipped classrooms have in common, according to a new report developed by the Flipped Learning Network, George Mason University, and Pearson's Center for Educator Effectiveness.

The report, "A Review of Flipped Learning," is designed to guide teachers and administrators through the concepts of flipped classrooms and provide definitions and examples of flipped learning in action. Among those concepts are four "pillars" that are required to support effective flipped learning.

  1. Flexible environments: Teachers must expect that class time will be "somewhat chaotic and noisy" and that timelines and expectations for learning assessments will have to be flexible as well.
  2. Culture shift: The classroom becomes student-centered. According to the guide: "Students move from being the product of teaching to the center of learning, where they are actively involved in knowledge formation through opportunities to participate in and evaluate their learning in a manner that is personally meaningful."
  3. Intentional content: Teachers are required to evaluate what they need to teach directly so that classroom time can be used for other methods of teaching, such as "active learning strategies, peer instruction, problem-based learning, or mastery or Socratic methods, depending on grade level and subject matter."
  4. Professional educators: The instructional videos used for flipped classrooms cannot replace trained, professional teachers.

The report also identified challenges and concerns about flipped classrooms, including:

  • The fear that flipped classrooms will further standardize instruction and lead to "further the privatization of education and the elimination of most teachers";
  • Unequal access to technology among students; and
  • An inability to engage students immediately when instruction is being delivered.

The guide provides references to research supporting the teaching methods used in flipped classrooms and includes three case studies focusing on flipped classrooms in action at the high school and college level. The complete report can be downloaded in PDF form on the Flipped Learning Network site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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