Teaching Tip: Flip your classroom

This tip is based on feedback from 338 students across four Los Angeles college campuses.

Nothing can replace the meaningful, organic dialogue of an in-person class, but it’s also not uncommon for in-person classroom dynamics to intimidate and silence shy students (or students with minority perspectives or uncommon lived experiences). Combining online learning with in-person learning can bring out the best in all types of learners.

“Flipping the classroom” refers to the practice whereby an instructor posts recorded lectures and readings online as homework. Then, instead of spending class time teaching, we use these times to discuss the material in-depth, to complete the assignments together, and to tutor our students one-on-one. In this case, students who attend the meetings will turn in high-quality work while also getting their questions answered. And, students who feel more comfortable sharing in the classroom are still offered the chance to shine while shyer students can utilize the online platform to share their views more comfortably. Some of my surveyed students confirmed this experience. Here are their voices:

“I feel at ease to be at home and have access to what I need from a click away.”

“Technology can help shy kids that are too anxious to ask a lot of questions. Technology can help them ask the teacher directly without having to worry what other kids think of them from asking a lot of questions.”

“[Online learning gives me the] ability to communicate with peers and professor with questions and collaboration without the social anxiety.”

“[Online classes] help me stay organized and calm unlike a traditional classroom where I feel very anxious.”

“It’s easier to express thoughts online.”

“I am very nervous talking to anyone, because I feel like they won’t understand me in terms of how I explain things since I am not very good in English. [Online learning] really helped me in a way that I can say what I wanted to say freely without me thinking someone will judge me because of my accent.”

“I feel like using technology gives me the opportunity to get ahead as I know what I should prepare myself for. Rather than not knowing and having little to almost no time to prepare myself for an assignment or chapter test.”

Cultural Anthropologist in Los Angeles

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