Flip Your Classroom | Jonathan Bergmann

Summary of: Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day
By: Jonathan Bergmann


In ‘Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day,’ authors Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams bring attention to the challenges faced by many students, from being left behind to merely ‘playing school.’ They propose an innovative method called the ‘flipped classroom,’ which focuses on giving students individualized assistance during class, while they learn through recorded lectures during their own time. This introduction to the flipped-classroom approach showcases its flexible, efficient, and student-centric nature, while shedding light on Bergmann and Sams’ own journey to develop and refine the technique.

Flipping the Classroom: A Better Approach to Learning

Many high school students struggle to keep up with lectures. The flipped classroom approach is the solution. Teachers focus on helping students while recorded lectures are watched on their own time.

Enrique, Janice, and Ashley are just a few examples of high school students who are struggling to learn, despite their best efforts. For Enrique, his teachers speak too fast for him to keep up, and he can’t take notes quickly enough to follow their lectures. Janice is a busy student-athlete who, despite working hard, is falling behind in her classes due to her busy schedule. Likewise, Ashley appears to be the perfect student, but is only learning how to manipulate the educational system. All of these students face different challenges, but their struggle to learn is similar.

The solution to this problem lies in the flipped classroom method. Instead of relying solely on lectures, teachers focus on helping students during class time. Meanwhile, students listen to or watch recorded lectures on their own time. This approach works for any subject, from humanities to physical education, and even foreign language. By focusing on the needs of individual students, the flipped classroom approach ensures that students stay engaged and on track to success.

Flipping the Classroom

Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, chemistry teachers in a rural school in Colorado, developed their own version of the flipped-classroom approach in 2007. They used screen-capture software to record their chemistry lectures and uploaded the videos for students to view at their convenience. This method proved helpful for students who missed classes and needed to catch up. Students who attended the original lectures also benefited as they could watch the videos repeatedly to prepare for exams. Bergmann and Sams found success in addressing the challenges faced by struggling students who fell behind, missed out on key concepts due to other commitments, or never really grasped the important objectives in their courses. They continued to refine their approach, recognizing that there is no specific methodology to be replicated, neither a checklist to follow that guarantees results. The use of video lectures became increasingly popular, paving the way for the flipped-classroom approach to revolutionize the way courses are taught.

The Power of Flipped Mastery in Education

Learn how two high school chemistry teachers from Colorado became pioneers of a new learning technique called flipped mastery. By recording all their lectures and giving students the opportunity to review them at home, Bergmann and Sams were able to focus their class time on experiment and concept mastery, leading to outstanding results. Discover how the flipped-classroom approach is scalable, reproducible, and economical, making it a game-changer in education globally.

Bergmann and Sams were just two high school chemistry teachers in rural Colorado when they realized that their current methods of teaching weren’t working. They wanted to be more present for their students when it mattered the most – when they needed individual help. That’s when Sams had a revolutionary idea: “What if we prerecorded our lectures, students watched them at home, and we used the entire class period to help students with the concepts they don’t understand?”

Thus began the flipped-classroom approach. By 2007-2008, the teachers prerecorded all their chemistry lectures, so students could watch them at home, and take notes whenever necessary. This left more time for Bergmann and Sams to help their struggling students.

As word spread about this revolutionary technique, Bergmann and Sams found themselves being called upon to explain it to other schools and colleges. Their flipped-classroom approach was featured on TV and used in schools across the United States, Canada, and Europe. It proved to be “scalable, reproducible, customizable, and economical.” A working definition of the flipped classroom is “that which is traditionally done as homework is now completed in class.”

With the flipped-classroom model, teachers can focus their energy and expertise on helping students with the concepts they don’t understand. Prerecorded lectures allow students the flexibility to learn at their own pace and to review difficult material as often as necessary. This approach also frees up teachers to develop experiments and laboratory experiences that reinforce what students are learning, making concepts more tangible.

Overall, Bergmann and Sams’ success has shown that the flipped-classroom model is a game-changer in education. By embracing this approach, teachers can create a sustainable, reproducible, and manageable environment for learning, one that marries the principles of mastery learning with modern technology. As Sams once said, “If flipped mastery can be successfully implemented in a small town, with no resources, in a dangerous chemistry class, it can be implemented anywhere.”

The Flipped Classroom Approach

The flipped classroom approach, according to Bergmann and Sams, is a mindset that gives priority to students over teachers. This approach requires students to watch videos at home, rewind sections they don’t grasp, and take notes. During class time, teachers engage in mini-lectures with struggling students and administer tests, among other activities. The approach promotes student-teacher interaction, improves classroom management, and facilitates substitute teacher support. Producing high-quality videos is the primary challenge for teachers in the flipped classroom approach. The approach has gained popularity among tech-minded students and is ideal for large face-to-face classes.

Personalized Education through Flipped-Classroom Approach

The traditional assembly-line system of education restricts individualized learning. The flipped-classroom approach revolutionizes the way students learn by personalizing education according to their needs. Unlike the conventional system where every student receives the same basic education, this approach upends the traditional experience. It enables teachers to offer tailored learning experiences to each student, catering to their learning pace and style. Instructors can identify students’ strengths and weaknesses and offer timely assistance. The flipped-classroom approach promotes active learning, increases student engagement, and fosters collaborative learning environments, creating a more personalized and effective educational experience.

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