What Does a Good Flipped Class Look Like?

The following is a co-post from The Daily Riff on what a good flipped classroom looks like:

The Flipped Class
What Does a Good One Look Like?

“The classroom environment and learning culture play
a large role in determining the best pedagogical strategy.”

by Brian Bennett, Jason Kern, April Gudenrath and Philip McIntosh

The idea of the flipped class started with lecture and direct instruction being done at home via video and/or audio, and what was once considered homework is done in class. So, the order of the “lecture” and “homework” components of the class are, well — flipped.

Now, it is becoming much more than that.

The main reason, maybe the only reason, to flip a class is to provide more class time for learning and that is the major shift that we are seeing as the flip gains popularity across content areas. Other than that, a good flipped class should be like any other in which good teaching and effective learning take place. Flipping the class is not the end-all solution to finding the “best use” of class time, but it does allow for varied forms of instruction. And after all, doesn’t anything that results in more in-class learning a move in the right direction?

A lot of flipped class discussions focus on moving away from a traditional lecture format. While some lessons lend themselves better to a lecture format, others will be more appropriate as a flipped lesson. The classroom environment and learning culture play a large role in determining the best pedagogical strategy. This decision-making is a vital part of providing a constructive learning environment for students.

Switching from a traditional classroom to a flipped classroom can be daunting because there are a lack of effective models. So, what should an effective flipped classroom look like? In our experience, effective flipped classrooms share many of these characteristics:

  • Discussions are led by the students where outside content is brought in and expanded.
  • These discussions typically reach higher orders of critical thinking.
  • Collaborative work is fluid with students shifting between various simultaneous discussions depending on their needs and interests.
  • Content is given context as it relates to real-world scenarios.
  • Students challenge one another during class on content.
  • Student-led tutoring and collaborative learning forms spontaneously.
  • Students take ownership of the material and use their knowledge to lead one another without prompting from the teacher.
  • Students ask exploratory questions and have the freedom to delve beyond core curriculum.
  • Students are actively engaged in problem solving and critical thinking that reaches beyond the traditional scope of the course.
  • Students are transforming from passive listeners to active learners.

The flipped class is not for everyone, but it offers the best way we know of to maximize in-class learning opportunities. If an individual learner or group of learners needs something akin to lecture, that can be done. Small group discussions? No problem. Plenty of time for interaction with the teacher? You bet.

The best way to understand how the method works is to see it in action. If you are interested in the Flipped Classroom, you are not alone…find and begin building a support network at The Flipped Class Network. Look at the network resources, connect with other professionals, or even visit a class and see what the buzz is about. Chances are the flip will be coming soon to a school near you, if it hasn’t already.


Once again, we recognize that the flipped class does not and cannot end with the flip itself.  You, as a teacher, have to make intentional decisions about how to best meet the needs of your students.  It might begin with videos, but it might (and probably should) move away from them as you and your learners figure out how they learn best.  There is no one “correct” model of a flipped classroom.  If you ask me, I would say a “flipped” class is one where the majority of class time is spent working collaboratively and intentionally to give learners a chance to explore, explain, and create content.

The vocabulary and title of the class are the biggest talking points.  Let’s stop focusing on the title of the class and start talking about all the opportunities students have in school, wether its in a “flipped” class or not.

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