How to Flip a Classroom in CTE: 6 Best Practices
One of the biggest challenges for career and technical education (CTE) teachers is meeting the needs of diverse students.
That’s exactly why flipped learning was invented.
You’ve heard about the benefits of a flipped classroom, and some of your fellow teachers may already be differentiating their instruction by flipping their classrooms.
Flipped learning isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the six best ways to start so you can get off on the right foot!
Flipped learning best practices are:
- Knowing When to Flip (and When Not To)
- Starting with Small Changes
- Helping Your Students Adjust
- Giving Students Options for Accessing Your Content
- Using More Than Lecture Videos
- Finding Ways to Check Work Done at Home
Now, let’s dig into what each of these best practices mean and how you can use them in your CTE classroom!
1. Knowing When to Flip (and When Not To)
If you’re like most CTE instructors trying flipped learning, you are excited to get started! And you might be tempted to flip every single lesson — but don’t start just yet.
This best practice is a reminder that flipping isn’t a universally good way to teach every lesson.
So what lessons can you flip?
Do you have a lecture related to hands-on skills? Record the lecture and instruct students to watch it before class. That way you have more class time dedicated to answering questions and developing those skills with guided practice.
Want students to read a section in the book and answer questions before having a discussion? Have them do that work at home so class time focuses on the discussion!
And what kinds of lessons should you keep more traditional?
Is there a topic that students struggle with year after year? Focus on this one in class, where you are a few steps away to help anyone who needs it.
2. Starting with Small Changes
When you first start flipping your classroom, it’s a good idea to take it one step at a time. While you may find that many of your lessons would work well in a flipped scenario, doing too much at once will quickly get overwhelming for your students.
Choose one lesson to start. That’ll let you experiment and get the hang of it.
Once you have one lesson down, try a second and third. Each time, try a different flipped classroom strategy and ask your students if they have a preference.
Keep a close eye on their grades for lessons as well. If the class average spikes or dips, you know flipped learning was a good or bad idea.
The more you experiment with different flipped learning strategies, the more comfortable you (and your students) will be with the changes.
3. Helping Your Students Adjust
While flipping the classroom is new to you, it’s an even newer concept to your students. Flipped learning will help them, but you’ll have to help them adjust to this new teaching style.
Because students will be doing some traditional in-class work at home, give them a few pointers and milestones to achieve.
One way to do this is indicate how much time they should be spending on these tasks. If they were completing the work in your classroom, you’d be there to tell them when time was up. Giving them a range of time they should spend on a task can help them be more aware and focused on their work.
You should also clearly state your expectations about the work to be done before class. Find ways to make your students accountable, such as establishing classroom rules or even making the out-of-class work a part of their overall grade.
4. Giving Students Options for Accessing Your Content
There’s one big catch to flipped learning — students need access to technology to complete most of the work.
While most students have computer access at home, some don’t.
Kozy Hubbard from Bartow High School, FL shared that she faced this challenge in her flipped classroom, but found solutions.
Kozy helps students find time to go to the computer lab, the school Media Center, and even reminds them they can go to the public library to use a computer.
While it’s a little extra work, the technology is available for every student in a flipped learning environment. You may have to point them in the right direction, but you can help any student succeed with flipped learning!
5. Using More Than Lecture Videos
Many teachers think that flipping the classroom is just recording yourself talking about a topic and sharing the video with students to watch at home.
While this is a great strategy, there are other ways to flip your classroom!
Here’s how to flip your classroom without relying on recorded lectures:
- Ask students to complete readings at home and answer questions to review in class
- Instruct students to view demonstration videos of specific procedures (such as CPR)
- Create an online discussion group
- Use a digital curriculum for students to learn fundamentals before coming to class for hands-on work
6. Finding Ways to Check Work Done at Home
Since your students will complete different tasks at home, you have to make sure they’re doing the work.
Some students will do everything you ask, but every class has outliers you need to watch.
With so many ways to flip your classroom, you’ll need a way for you to check student completion for every new strategy.
Here are a few ideas for assessing student work based on different flipped classroom strategies:
- Have students hand in a worksheet based on the readings they needed to finish
- If you use videos, try using a tool that lets you make them interactive (like PlayPosit) so you can include questions and polls
- Use a digital curriculum with integrated quizzes you can review
Start Flipping Your CTE Classroom
At Applied Educational Systems, we provide digital curriculum systems to help CTE educators flip their classroom and differentiate instruction.
Our programs are used by thousands of teachers across the United States to meet the needs of their diverse students.
Want to start flipping your CTE classroom?
Learn more about our programs!