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10 Pros And Cons Of A Flipped Classroom

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10 Pros And Cons Of A Flipped Classroom

by Mike Acedo

Many of us can recall instances in our lives where we found ourselves idly sitting in a classroom, eyes glazed over, half listening to our teacher as they lectured in front of the room.

These scenes are all too familiar in today’s schools, as the traditional model of learning has primarily revolved around a teacher-centered classroom, where instructors focus on conveying information, assigning work, and leaving it to the students to master the material. Though effective for some, this type of instruction has forced students to be merely receptors of information, rather than participants in their own learning processes through active learning. Fortunately, as technology has increasingly grown and infiltrated our classrooms, a new learning model has emerged that moves away from a teacher-centered space, and onto a more collaborative, student-centered learning environment, by way of a flipped classroom.

The main goal of a flipped classroom is to enhance student learning and achievement by reversing the traditional model of a classroom, focusing class time on student understanding rather than on lecture. To accomplish this, teachers post short video lectures online for students to view at home prior to the next class session. This allows class time to be devoted to expanding on and mastering the material through collaborative learning exercises, projects, and discussions. Essentially, the homework that is typically done at home is done in the classroom, while the lectures that are usually done in the classroom are viewed at home.

There are numerous potential advantages to this style of learning.

The Pros

1. Students have more control

In a flipped classroom, it is possible for students to have increased input and control over their own learning. By providing short lectures at home, students are given the freedom to learn at their own pace. Students may pause or rewind the lectures, write down questions they may have, and discuss them with their teachers and peers in class.

This also allows students who need more time to understand certain concepts to take their time reviewing the material without getting left behind, and receive immediate assistance from teachers and classmates. As a result, this can not only improves student achievement, but improves student behavior in class as well.

2. It promotes student-centered learning and collaboration

Flipped classrooms allows class time be used to master skills through collaborative projects and discussions. This encourages students to teach and learn concepts from each other with the guidance of their teachers. By allowing students to partake in their own learning, they are able to own the knowledge they achieve, which in turn builds confidence. Furthermore, teachers are given the ability to identify errors in thinking or concept application, and are more available for one-on-one interaction.

3. Lessons and content are more accessible (provided there is tech access)

By making video lectures available at all times online, students who are forced to miss class due to illness, sports, vacations or emergencies, can catch up quickly. This also gives teachers more flexibility when they themselves are sick and also eliminates make-up assignments.

4. Access = easier for parents to see what’s going on

Unlike traditional classroom models, flipped classrooms give parents 24/7 access to their student’s video lectures. This allows parents to be better prepared when attempting to help their students and gives them insight into the quality of instruction their students are receiving.

5. It can be more efficient

Done properly, in a flipped classroom, kids can have more time to be kids, whether that means more free time, or more academic practice.

As most of us can recall from our own experiences, a substantial amount of time is spent each week outside the classroom doing homework. In fact, a study done observing 9th-12th graders found that students spent and average of 38 hours a week doing homework. This is a tremendous amount of work on not only students, but on teachers as well, who have to be constantly assigning and grading work. Since flipped classrooms limit the outside workload to watching an online lecture that is usually less than 10 minutes long, this gives students and teachers more time outside of class to focus on other interests like friends, families, and hobbies.

However, there has predictably been some criticism to this bold new model of teaching and learning.

The Cons

1. It can create or exacerbate a digital divide

One of the most prominent issues is the necessity for students to have access to a computer and Internet in order to view the lectures. This is particularly hard on students from low-income districts who already have limited access to resources.

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2. It relies on preparation and trust

There is also the concern that since flipped classrooms are dependent on student participation, one must trust students to watch the lectures at home. Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee students will oblige or cooperate with the flipped model.

3. There is significant work on the front-end

Additionally, there is a concern that implementing a flipped classroom adds an extra workload on teachers, as there are several elements that must be integrated carefully to allow the class to flourish. Responsibilities include taping and uploading condensed lectures, which take time and skill, and introducing activities in the classroom that will enhance the subject matter as well as motivate students to participate and prepare for class. Though teachers can gradually integrated flipped elements into their classrooms, it will still require additional time and effort from teachers.

4. Not naturally a test-prep form of learning

Whether you think this is a good or a bad thing is another conversation, but it’s important to realize that generally speaking, flipped classrooms do not “teach to the test.” Flipped classrooms do not follow the model of teaching to improve standardized test scores. However, teachers and students are still required to spend a sizable portion of time preparing for state mandated testing, which in turn interrupts the flipped classroom process.

5. Time in front of screens–instead of people and places–is increased

There are some who believe that if every teacher starts flipping their classrooms, students will spend hours in front of a computer watching the lectures. One may argue that this has the potential to cause serious problems to student’s learning processes, as not everyone may be as adept to learning through a computer.


Despite these issues, the flipped classroom can still a very effective, hands-on approach to improving student achievement and involving them in their own education.

Below are a few resources teachers can use to learn more about flipped classrooms, including resources they may find useful in implementing such a model in their own classroom.

Image attribution flickr user tulanepublicrelations; 10 Pros And Cons Of A Flipped Classroom

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Dan Adiletta

I’ve always found the emphasis on the flipped class to be on just half of the flip: http://exitticket.org/other-side-to-a-flipped-class/


Good points Mike, and I can see you are ultimately a fan of the idea. As a staunch advocate of the benefits of using flipped teaching and techniques, I’ve got to take you to task on these points. It starts with what I feel is the mistaken (yet common) perception that the flip needs to be “all or none”, i.e. flip all content in given course – it doesn’t have to be done that way. When you start to approach it as something that needs to be used only to an appropriate extent, and can be eased into, several of… Read more »


I get around the digital divide part by providing DVDs of the videos to students without Internet access. I have found that even the poorest students usually have access to a DVD player at home or have PlayStation or Xbox. This works well.

Mbanda Shyaka

I like the idea of the flipped classroom and I am one of the proponents for it in my country Uganda. I think that bold new ideas are what is required to change monolithic tendencies of our education system that is so reluctant to change. Issues of scalability like cost may arise especially in a poor country like Uganda but I believe the middle income parents should bear the cost , purchase Tabs, download the Khan academy and start to flip the classroom because both the rich and poor are suffering from poor education. The Khan academy comes in handy… Read more »


Implemented 3 different flipped classrooms within 1 month and I’m in my 3rd year. I did it alone, without funding, and in a low-income public school district. And it has been working very well. Let me clarify some of the cons: CON 1 – this is absolutely the easiest to problem to solve. If you can’t figure out how to get your kids access to the internet at home… you MUST get yourself out of teaching. CON 2 – No trust required. You can easily set it up so you know when and who accessed your video. It takes the… Read more »


I think the FC is great. My concern is with students with ADHD and poor executive functioning, those kids by nature are not going to be self directed enough to invest the time in watching the video’s and doing the work on their own. (I know the ADHD research shows FC is successful with these kids, I’ve seen otherwise.) What do you do then?


Is anyone trying this at the elementary level? I’ve been to seminars, viewed a few blogs and even talked with teachers in my district, but I’ve found that those teachers are involved with middle and high school. They two subjects. Wow! I teach math, lang. arts, reading, social studies, and science almost everyday. How does one find the time to do the flipped class at the elementary level? Oh yeah, I also have three kids, a home to take care of, and a wife to spend time with. What do I do with them? Include them in the nightly class… Read more »

mom of a flipped

As a mom of a 7th grader who is new to the Flipped Classroom I can say I have mixed feelings. Pros include that I can watch the lessons too and use the info to help if needed. I can see what they should be learning. Decreases homework time. Cons: Kids will be kids and they need more instruction and face to face learning. Expecting them to keep to a regimented flipped classroom schedule can be daunting! Role reversal, traditionally teacher lectures students stare glaze eyed then had to somehow master it. Flipped, student teaches themselves and teacher is glaze… Read more »

Christine Bachofen

To the mom of a flipped student – I am a middle school math teacher using Flip. I use a modified flip where students watch a 10 minute or less video during class, then proceed to work on problems with their groups or independently. I am now able to have 2-3 one on one conversations about the math they are learning with each and every student in my classroom, each day. I now know that each student has heard my lesson (rather than tune me out with the glassy-eyed look) because they must check in with me after completing an… Read more »

Bob Jarvis

As a parent of kids who are mostly grown now (two in college, one still in high school) I have to say I find this educational model intriguing. When our kids were younger we put them through Montessori schooling through fifth grade, and while I give a lot of credit to the Montessori approach for their later academic success (eldest was high school valedictorian and is currently studying linguistics and mathematics at Harvard, next daughter was top grade-point in her class (they’d eliminated the “valedictorian/salutatorian” by then and gone to an “honors diploma” model – meh) and is in a… Read more »