Picture this: a professor is standing in front of a large lecture hall droning on about the day’s lesson plan. Some students are frantically scribbling down notes while others are confused and disengaged. After class, students are assigned problems relating to concepts that they still don’t fully grasp, and in the next lecture the professor hurries through students’ questions to make sure there is enough time to cover new material. As lessons become harder and lengthier, this traditional method of teaching leaves students feeling overwhelmed. What we need instead is a classroom structure which not only accommodates the different ways students learn but also frees up precious class time for professors to provide students with necessary guidance. Therefore, NYU should implement the flipped classroom model in most math and science courses.
The flipped classroom functions by exposing students to instructional content outside of class, thereby allowing class time to be used for students to ask questions and engage in the material with the professor. Outside of this basic premise, there are some key requirements that allow the model to properly function. NYU computer science professor Craig Kapp, an advocate of the model, pointed out three of these components in his classes. First, instructional videos should ideally be bite-sized so that students can grasp the key points without getting distracted. Second, there should be incentives in place, such as quizzes, to ensure that students complete the assignment before class. Finally, professors should generate in-class questions to gauge areas of weaknesses and focus on reinforcing these areas. These, along with constant feedback from tutors and professors, allow students to solidify their understanding of the material.
When all of these pieces are in place, the benefits observed from the flipped classroom are profound. A study found that not only do students prefer the flipped classroom model, but they also learn more from it. Another study reaffirms the benefits of the model by showing that the average scores of students in a flipped classroom nearly doubles that of students in a lecture class. The increase in student performance and engagement subsequently allows for the classroom to run much more efficiently. Professor Kapp said that by switching to the flipped classroom, he was able to cover roughly 20 percent more content while the average grade in the class actually rose.
That said, some classes’ formats require materials to be constantly updated or rely on different styles of discussion, which simply won’t fit the flipped classroom. However, for the classes that do, the benefits from switching is clearly evident and thus raise a very valid case for further implementation of the flipped classroom model at universities like NYU.
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A version of this article appeared in the Monday, November 21th print edition. Email Hao Ly at [email protected]