In “Flipped” Classrooms, a Method for Mastery

A recent New York Times article provides a good overview of how flipped teaching can, if given the right framework, provide the conditions for developing mastery.  The crux of the approach can be distilled down to this pedagogical switch, “In traditional schooling, time is a constant and understanding is a variable…But there is another way to look at schooling — through the lens of a method called “mastery learning,” in which the student’s understanding of a subject is a constant and time is a variable.”

Flipping the Classroom

Flipping the classroom has received a lot of press, thanks, in part, to the popularity of Khan Academy. The basic premise of flip teaching is simple: video lectures are watched at home and homework is done during class time.  Proponents of flip teaching say the advantage of this model is that students can apply the knowledge they learned during the video lesson in class by solving problems in an interactive group environment. The teacher has the opportunity to work with differentiated groups and can more easily tutor students at their own pace and level.  This interactive pedagogy converts learners from passive note-takers into active teachers who have to explain their understanding and ideas to their group and the teacher. By some estimates interactive learning can triple students gains in knowledge.

Check out a flip video one of our science teachers, Vivian Byun, created below.