Book Review – Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day

In my opinion, the flipped classroom is a great instructional model. In Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day* by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, they take you through their experiences of flipping high school chemistry classes. Bergmann and Sams are the two that really put flipped instruction on the map. 

While this book is not long, only 112 pages, it provides a lot of great insight from two instructors who used flipped instruction on a daily basis. Flip Your Classroom has nine chapters.

  • Our Story: Creating the Flipped Classroom
  • The Flipped Classroom
  • Why You Should Flip Your Classroom
  • How to Implement the Flipped Classroom
  • The Flipped-Mastery Classroom
  • The Case for the Flipped-Mastery Model
  • How to Implement the Flipped-Mastery Model
  • Answering Your Questions (FAQs)
  • Conclusion

“What is best for the students in my classroom?”

As Bergmann and Sams looked to improve the instruction in their classroom, they focused on one question: “What is best for the students in my classroom?” They realized that each student was unique and they had to adjust their class to accommodate for the differences rather than push students through a class as if they were all the same.

The authors highlighted reasons why they moved to a flipped model: students out of class for extracurricular activities, students who were falling behind, and students who were just coasting through classes because they know how to play education.

They initially started creating videos to help students who missed classes. They quickly discovered students were watching the videos over and over again as well as doing better in the classroom. They quickly made it standard practice.

Over time, they moved from creating videos to help absent students to flipping their classroom. In a flipped environment, the lectures are provided for “homework” and the traditional homework is done in class when an instructor can provide coaching. Bergmann and Sams have since moved to a flipped-mastery model where students work on objectives at their own pace. The class no longer moves in a cohort model.

Flipped Classroom

I liked that Bergmann and Sams spend a lot of time setting students up for success. They provide instruction on the flipped instruction model, strategies for notetaking, and a feedback loop to ensure videos are watched as well as identify where videos can be improved.

Bergmann and Sams provided guidance for creating videos. Naturally, thin slicing or focusing on one objective at a time was a strategy they emphasized. They also stressed that the instructor did not have to create all the videos. There are thousands of great videos available to be used in a classroom setting. You just have to review the video before sharing.

In addition to creating videos for the lecture portion of the class, they included ideas for what to do during the in-class portion. They provided ideas for foreign languages, math, science, physical education, and humanity classes. A lot of in-class activities focus on project-based learning strategies.

Flipped-Mastery Classroom

The flipped-mastery classroom chapter began with highlighting Benjamin Bloom. The authors cited Bloom as noting that “almost all students can master any content, given enough time and support” (Bergmann & Sams, 2011, p. 51). Bergmann and Sams had taken flipped instruction to the next level by moving to flipped-mastery model. In this type of model, students work at their own pace to master objectives.

Bergmann and Sams provided a lot of tips to make flipped-mastery successful. This model is heavily student-centric and relies a lot on the Universal Design for Learning framework. In my opinion, Universal Design for Learning is a strong framework to facilitate learning. It requires providing a lot of choice for students and student support.

The flipped-mastery model increases student responsibility. Students cannot simply coast through school because they have figured out how to win at education. They have to actually engage in learning. This can be frustrating for some students who have been successful but not necessarily learning.

Conclusion

I liked Flip Your Classroom so much, I picked up four additional copies to give to my teammates as well as some other departments. Bergmann and Sams speak from extensive experience. Their insights are valuable and are packaged quite neatly in one book. If you are an instructor and interested in flipped instruction, I would definitely recommend Flip Your Classroom I think all disciplines can use flipped instruction.


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