What's the FLIP? Expanding the Definition of the Flipped Classroom Model

When people see the name of my business (FLIP It Consulting), they usually ask, “What is ‘flip’ it?” Before I can explain, they start asking questions to see if they can guess.

“Do you flip houses?” No, I don’t flip houses. 

“Is it like cooking? Do you flip pancakes or burgers?” No.

“Do you teach gymnastics? Teach kids how to flip?”  Ha ha! No, I don’t teach gymnastics. (But, that’s a great name for a gymnastics business!)

That’s when I briefly explain that the FLIP is related to teaching. I usually share a quick explanation such as, “It’s a teaching strategy. It’s when teachers “flip it” to the students and create more active and engaging learning experiences.” 

That’s a basic intro for someone who is not education. But, if you teach (or want to teach one day), I’m sure you’re looking for a more detailed description of what the “flip” means and how we can work together.

What's the FLIP?

My idea of the FLIP started with a whiteboard. I was in the middle of a brainstorming session trying to figure out a name for my business, and I kept asking myself, "What exactly do I try to do in the classroom?"  

I answered my question in many ways...

I try to "switch" the focus from the lecturer to the students.

I try to "shift" the energy from the podium to the participants.

I try to "reverse" the flow of information in a classroom.

I try to focus on what the students are doing rather than what I am doing.

I played with so many word and ideas before I had the "ah ha!" moment.

I try to "flip" the focus of the classroom to my students. FLIP! That's the word I was looking for!

And FLIP It Consulting was born.



Little did I know that a couple of years later, the "flipped" classroom conversation would reach across all areas of education, training, and development. But my model has always been complimentary to yet different from those conversations. 

As more educators experimented with the flipped classroom, many definitions and interpretations started to emerge. Somewhere along the way, the word “flipped” became synonymous with making videos of all of your lectures and creating an anti-lecture attitude.

Unfortunately, this is the idea many educators have when they hear the word “flipped.” It's a gimmick. It's a fad. It's a trend.

But, that's not what it means to me.

In my work, the FLIP means to “Focus on your Learners by Involving them in the Process.” 

A simple way to think about it is to just think about how to "flip" the work in the classroom to your students. Students are engaged and busy working together.

But just because students are busy doesn't mean they are learning anything.

That's why, in my FLIP model, I reference Bloom’s Taxonomy to help you visualize how you want to structure the time with your students and how the activities and assignments connect to the learning outcomes.

Note: This is the model I use for in-person flipped classrooms. I have adapted this model for online, blended, and polysynchronous courses.



The goal is to engage students in activities involving higher levels of critical thinking during the time they share with you and their peers. It's more than watching videos of lectures or doing an icebreaker.

Instead of class time being a place where information is delivered or consumed, it becomes a place where information is applied, analyzed, and evaluated as students work to create meaning and connections themselves.

Planning the flipped learning experience starts with the question, “What are students going to DO in class today?” 

When you ask yourself this question, it shifts the focus and encourages you to think about how students can connect with each other, with the course material, and with you. In other words, you FLIP it!

Watch this 2-minute video for an overview of the FLIP:



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Flipping the College Classroom: Practical Advice from Faculty

I served as the editor and a contributing author for this book published by Magna Publications. Throughout each section, you'll hear from a variety of scholars as they share advice, resources, and recommendations to help you create successful flipped learning experiences.

Available on Amazon* and from Magna Publications.

 

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