Michelle Ott               

Critical Review of a Book



The book “Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day" by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams was a very eye-opening book that informed me on a up and coming method of teaching.  The two main goals of this book were to explain the flipped classroom and the flipped mastery models of teaching and to show the benefits of using these models in the classroom.

            The major strength of this book is that it is very concise. The book provides all of the required information to teach you how to flip your classroom and it leaves out all of the “fluff.”  The authors say that they wrote the book hoping that teachers would be able to read it in one sitting or over a weekend.  This allowed you to get the entire picture at once without having to remember what you read three weeks ago.   I also found the feedback and stories from other teachers that adapted the model helpful.  This showed me that the method can be replicated and it does not have to be implemented exactly the way Jonathan and Aaron implemented it to be successful. 

            The main weakness I found with the book is they did not provide a concrete example.  I think if they included in the book or gave a link follow of one unit plan they created it would have helped me visualize the model a lot better.  If they included a unit worth of videos, guided notes, the unit packet, a lab example, and a test example I would have been able to see how everything came together.  The second weakness I found is that the book is not based on any scientific research.  Aaron and Jonathan did not do any research before flipping their classroom and they performed very little analysis on their own results.  The little analysis they did perform they found no difference in grades between their traditional teaching model and the flipped model.  If I am going to make a huge time commitment to flip my classroom I would like research that proves that it would benefit the students and help them learn more efficiently. 

            Flipping your classroom is a huge undertaking.  It takes a lot of planning and the ability to give up control.  If implemented correctly I think it could change the way students learn dramatically.  I think flipping had its place in the classroom but might not be the best way to learn for all content areas or all units.  While observing I am trying a modified flipped classroom.  I have assigned my students videos to watch and give them guided notes to fill out while listening to the video.  When they come to class the next day I still lecture but my hope is with the background knowledge of the video the students understand the lecture more and we are able to go through the lecture portion quicker.  This allows more time for group work and one-on-one attention with the students. If this model increases in popularity I fear for the implications for teachers.  Will students be sitting at home learning from videos?  Will there be a need for teachers?  I honestly don’t see this happening the near future.  The whole premise that makes the flipped classroom model work is that the students are given more one-on-one attention during class. 

            The flipped classroom model is all about using technology in the classroom.   Jonathan and Aaron even do their testing online. They provide access to all materials over multiple mediums to close the technical divide.  They post the videos online, burn them to DVDs, and allow access to them on in the classroom.  Their tests are computer generated from a test bank so each student can take the exam when they mastered the content at their own pace. If the technology and methodology of the flipped classroom is implemented correctly I think it could be very beneficial to students.  It helps students that are absent to be able to stay on track instead of falling more behind.  It gives students more access to the teacher and their peers.  It gives teachers more ability to collaborate with their colleagues.  I think a form of the flipped classroom model will have a place in my classroom.  I look forward to reading more examples and learning more about the flipped classroom model in the future.