School Furniture for a Flipped Classroom

19 May 2014

When it comes to flipping a classroom, teachers need to take many things into consideration. A few include room layout, the school furniture, group work, and classroom management. To make sure the transition goes smoothly, educators should make sure to get the transition right from the start.

From the very beginning, the reasoning behind the decision to flip a classroom should be communicated to students and parents alike. This way, they can make the most of the process and avoid confusion about the goals of the course. The administration needs to understand and agree with the idea, too. It only takes one person in the network who doesn’t understand to cause difficulties later on, so clear and concise communication is paramount. In addition, teachers should introduce this change at the start of a semester, as a mid-semester change can alienate students.

On the teacher’s side, preparation takes center stage. In-class activities require planning and troubleshooting. Similarly, creating video lectures ready to view online may also prove more time-consuming that it seems at first glance. Teachers need a head start to make sure they don’t get overwhelmed by video production and editing as the semester progresses.

As the weeks and months go by, student feedback will become essential. The teacher will have to make adjustments according to how the students in a given class respond to the material and presentation. After all, this style of class should focus on the more collaborative elements it can provide.

In one case study, a teacher failed to flip the classroom from the start, which caused tension among students who approved and those who disapproved of the system. While the system eventually came together and pleased the students, the transition would have been easier had it been introduced from the beginning. In the end, most of her students saw the value of flipping the classroom.

This same teacher also highlighted some of logistical problems within a traditional classroom when attempting to make this transition. As lecture no longer remains a goal in class, interaction becomes the focus. In light of this, traditional classroom furniture often hinders the teacher’s ability to physically locate students where they want.

Many teachers find that small uniquely shaped group tables encourage interaction compared to standard school furniture. Others prefer multi-purpose Motion or adjustable height Influence tables to create classroom flexibility, so the room layout can be changed depending on the task at hand. Whichever option teachers choose, they should take into consideration the dynamic and ever-changing needs students will have as they undertake this new approach to learning.