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ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF SOCIAL AND STRATEGIC STUDIES - Volume 3 Issue 2, August-September 2022

Pages: 258-264

Date of Publication: 30-Sep-2022


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Book Review – Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Jonathan Bergmann & Aaron Sams

Author: Sandeep Lopez

Category: Education & Training

Abstract:

Blended learning has become the new normal. Although it is not a new concept and there are many models in place, there is a need to explore the various models and implement them in our present classrooms. Flipped classroom is one of the blended learning models. Even though schools are adopting this model of teaching there is a lot to explore. This is where the need for understanding the models arises. I have often found teachers and educationists struggling with theories, models, and perspectives on using technology for teaching and learning. One of the many problems they face in the classroom is how to keep the gifted or talented learners engaged. The teachers are well aware of the fact that the gifted students often understand the concept in less time than that of a regular student in the classroom; yet they fail to address the needs of the gifted students.

Keywords: gifted learners, talented learners, blended learning, flipped classroom, flip your classroom, Technology in education, gifted and talented learners, flipped learning for gifted learners

DOI: 10.47362/EJSSS.2022.3208

DOI URL: https://doi.org/10.47362/EJSSS.2022.3208

Full Text:

Reviewer: Sandeep Lopez, Research Scholar, Regional Institute of Education, Manasagangothri, Mysore, India.

Introduction

This is not new in that we tend to focus more on everyday classes as a group thus turning a blind eye to the gifted and talented students. Teachers often end up using the same technique as they use on other students while teaching. Even though the book does not focus on types of learners, flipping a class can actually increase the efficiency of the teaching-learning process considering gifted students. This is because the learning in this model is structured and tailor made to suit individual students.

Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams are both innovative and creative science teachers. The present book was their first collaborated book in 2012. This book is a record of their experiences, journey while they involved new model in their teaching process. They have both received the ‘Presidential Award for Excellence of Math and Science teaching’ and are also advisors for TED Education. There are not many books you can read on flipped classroom, but the two authors have contributed books on flipped classroom in other subject areas too.

Bergmann & Sam’s work is a welcome change in the current situation, at least in Indian context. Even though the book is a decade old, when readers finish reading the book, they will be at ease that they chose this book to read. It is a quick read and is loaded with starters for anyone interested in flipping their classroom. The book serves as a platter for two concepts; Flipped Classroom model and Flipped – Mastery Classroom model. The concept of Mastery learning is not new, it was Benjamin Bloom who revived it later and most of the current application of mastery learning is born from his works (Bloom, 1971). Bergmann & Sams have structured their book in an organised way, taking the readers from flipped to flipped-mastery. They have tried to connect the readers to the real-life classroom problems in the school and described how flipping can address these problems.

Chapter Summary and Notable Reviews

Karl Fisch in the Foreword, introduces us to the two authors Bergmann and Sams. Karl describes how he met the two authors and how influenced he was by the way they conducted their classes. He brings to the readers notice that the authors mainly focused on answering one question in their classroom – “What is best for the students in my classroom” (pg. viii). Fisch further explains that the book takes the readers through Bergmann and Sams, experiences of flipping high school chemistry classes.

As such the book includes a total of nine chapters, which on careful analysis I have categorized them as Part 1: Flipped classroom (chapters 2, 3, 4); Part 2: Flipped-Mastery Classroom Model (chapters 5, 6, 7); Part 3: Supporting chapters (chapters 1, 8, 9).

Chapter One – Our Story: Creating the Flipped Classroom, of the book narrates their journey of creating flipped classroom. The authors share their experiences on how they started the flipped classroom, giving us some relatable classroom scenarios. A short background on the number of students they considered for flipping, the problems they faced with the model are all briefed here. The authors, however, state their dissatisfaction using flipped classroom in their classes considering the fact that, even though the students performed better in the tests the students failed to master the concepts. This factor gave birth to the flipped-mastery model which is further introduced in brief in the chapter.

Chapter Two – The Flipped Classroom, opens with definition of the term. The drawback of the flipped classroom, the procedure of having the classes organized, and the instructions that were given to the students are all included in this chapter. The authors introduce the readers to the Cornell note-taking method used to summarize students learning. They also provide a comparative table on traditional and flipped classrooms.

Chapter Three – Why You Should Flip Your Classroom, provides a few key points on why one should consider flipping their classroom. The ‘why’ of this chapter is answered based on the experiences of the two authors in the real-time classroom. The authors also point out a few of the concerns they stumbled upon while flipping and how they tackled them. One of the noteworthy inclusions in this chapter is the call out ‘Bad Reasons for Flipping Your Classroom’ – that gives us five points on why we should avoid flipping our classes. Overall, in this chapter, the authors propose 15 reasons on why one should consider flipping their classroom. A few of them include classroom management, collaborative learning, pausing videos, parent advantages, and so on. Each of these reasons is accompanied by real-time classroom scenarios or experiences shared by the teachers. The chapter concludes with a recommendation to readers to make the change in the class gradually while flipping their class (pg. 33).

Chapter Four – How to Implement the Flipped Classroom, accounts for many of the details on implementation of flipped classroom. This chapter also includes a few technological suggestions for flipping the class. The authors clearly explain the steps in creating one’s own videos. They also guide us through a few of the resources or technologies used by them in their classroom viz., software like Camtasia Studio, PowerPoint Slide, Prezi; peripheral devices like microphone, webcam, and pen-tablet input device. They even suggest ways one can make the videos attractive to the students, calling them “Cardinal Video Rules” (pg.44). I assert that this chapter enables the readers to build basic understanding of using few of the technological aspects. The chapter further gives an account on shared experiences of teachers from other subjects like ESL, Math, Social science, physical education.

Chapter Five – The Flipped-Mastery Classroom, deals with the concept of Mastery learning. Using the key components of mastery learning the authors explain how they shaped flipped-mastery model. They start by defining the term ‘flipped-mastery model’ and then discussing on a few characteristics to be an effective teacher in flipped mastery environment viz., content mastery, collaboration, control learning and so on. Further an introduction and explanation on the five main components of flipped- mastery classroom as perceived by the authors is given. An example to help readers understand the arrangement has also been included in this chapter.

Chapter Six – The Case for the Flipped-Mastery Model, differentiates flipped and flipped mastery models. The authors state and explain 15 reasons why one must consider new models and not stick to traditional models of teaching. A small introduction on UDL (Universal Design for Learning), a learning theory by Harvard University has also been included in the chapter. The UDL theory speaks about multiple means of representation, multiple means of expression, and multiple means of engagement (Morin, 2021). The most interesting part of this chapter is the evaluation part, where in schools' evaluation is a summative or formative unit exam; the authors state six different ways of evaluation that is considered to prove the student's mastery over the objectives. This is where the author explains on how the model was enriched by merging the principles of UDL into flipped- mastery model.

Chapter Seven – How to Implement the Flipped- Mastery Model, present a step-by-step guide on the implementation of the flipped-mastery model in the classroom. The chapter talks about Ning (a social networking site), which was used to collaborate with other teachers. The authors claim that they learned a lot of things on how to improve and best implement the model in the classroom through Ning. A justification on the switch from flipped to flipped-mastery model; the problems they had to take care of while upgrading to flipped-mastery are briefed here. All the logistics that are required for flipped-mastery model are also discussed in this chapter. The chapter lays emphasis on the formative and summative assessments – difficulties while implementing tests, grading system, types of tests adopted by them (before evaluation); remediation and re-teaching for different types of learners (after evaluation), and the importance of assessments in mastering the objective. They conclude the chapter with a note on how they tackled the assessment problem using Moodle platform for test analysis.

Chapter Eight – Answering Your Questions (FAQs), answers a few of the questions which according to the authors were frequently addressed to them. The chapter comprises of 12 answered questions.

Chapter Nine – Conclusion, in this last chapter of the book the authors have shared their point of view on implementing the flipped mastery classroom model in the schools. They generalise that during the course of time they have realised that videos are not the only way of teaching, but other forms like direct teaching, Socratic dialogue should also be included. The book wisely concludes with a note to explore and hybridize what is shared in the book and adapt them into the classroom. They conclude with a suggestion to do “What is best for kids?” while selecting a model; even though one does not plan on using the flipped model.

Discussions and Constructive Comments

Flip Your Classroom – Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, is best suited for someone who is a beginner to the concept of flipped classroom. A quick read of this book would definitely help a novice setting up a flipped classroom no matter if he/she is an educationist, researcher or a tutor.

The flipped classroom model according to me can benefit students of all learning styles.

Considering the gifted students, the flipped classroom can help them work in an environment that is free from constraints. Van Tassel-Baska and Brown (2007) in their work recognize a set of learning environments that is best suited to gifted students. Their research suggests that gifted learners should be allowed to progress rapidly through material, at a pace appropriate to the individual learning rate. Inquiry and problem-based learning were said to have a positive effect on gifted students as it motivated them to learn, engage, and perform better. A traditional classroom where all the students are taught the same lesson at a similar pace and are sent back home to complete the same tasks allotted to them may not bring in these motivations, but a flipped classroom does.

As flipped classroom focus more on content like videos, audios, blogs, etc. A teacher can extend the learning by providing the students with content beyond the students’ grade and/or more advanced than their peers. Further, if need be, the gifted students can also be grouped together and assigned some projects on the videos they watch, giving them an opportunity to collaborate with students of the same learning styles. This will also not make the students feel isolated or misunderstood.

One of the major benefits of flipping a class is that it promotes a strong teacher-learner connection as the teacher can address all types of learners in the classroom instead of addressing a huge group of students for a long period of time. This also gives the gifted and talented students the opportunity to express their opinion or discuss their views with more confidence.

Each chapter of the book has a clear purpose and the language used by the authors is reader friendly. One of the finest features the authors have included in the book is examples, scenarios, and teacher experiences. These can help us plan our lessons that cater to all the different types of learners. However, if the reader is looking for more information on the flipped classroom model, they might have to read additional work. The book explains a few technological tools and also valid step-by-step suggestions on how to make videos or use already available videos while flipping. The authors in the book have restricted themselves to only one way of flipping the class i.e. using videos, yet not failed to mention that there are other ways of doing it.

The authors talk about implementing the model in their classroom without prior research or review as they quote “We didn’t consult the literature; we didn’t do any research: we simply jumped in” (pg. 10; 61). Although they have given the statistics on the success of their model, the impact factor of the data in my opinion is very less due to lack of theoretical and empirical evidences. I believe that a lot of other factors might have influenced the students learning while they flipped. In support of the book, there are nevertheless many research today carried out on flipped classroom that would to an extent back their assumptions.

A few more details could have contributed more to the readers. The authors have mentioned about Cornell note making in their book, but there were no resources for this that were included. The authors mention project-based learning being a part of their flipped class (pg. 50), but they fail to mention how they implemented it in their classroom. A few examples on assessments like open testing, formative could have helped the readers. An answer to the questions, what kind of learners were considered while they flipped class; how did it benefit students of different learning styles – could help us cater to the different types of learners.

The authors tried out these hybrid models and shared with us their experience of trial and error. Even though the book missed out on a few details, the idea of trying out something new and sharing the knowledge with average teachers or educationist is commendable. This is perhaps one of the important calls anyone as a teacher or educationist should take, to try out new models and share their experience for the benefit of others.

References:

Bloom, B.S. (1971). Mastery learning. In J.H. Block (Ed.). Mastery learning: Theory and practice, pp. 47-63. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Gole, S.S. (2021, March 8). Pune: Flipped classroom technique helps make learning interactive. The Time of India. Retrieved from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/pune-flipped-classroom-technique-helps-make-learning-interactive/articleshow/81389278.cms

Morin, A. (2021). What is universal design for learning (UDL)? Understood. Retrieved June 04, 2022, from https://www.understood.org/articles/en/universal-design-for-learning-what-it-is-and-how-it-works

Siegle, D. (2013, December 16). Technology: Differentiating instruction by flipping the classroom. Gifted Child Today, 37 (1), 51-55.

VanTassel-Baska, J., & Brown, E. F. (2007). Toward best practice: An
analysis of the efficacy of curriculum models in gifted education.
Gifted Child Quarterly, 51, 342– 358.