What is a Flipped Classroom and How is it Helpful in Learning Biology?

More schools are incorporating the idea of “flipped classroom” learning, which some believe is the new standard of education. Well, what exactly is a flipped classroom and how effective is it in learning Biology? Let’s have a look at flipped classroom learning compared to our typical teaching methods at our Ang Mo Kio hub tuition for Biology.

The Flipped Classroom Concept

In a flipped classroom, also known as an inverted classroom, the usual activities that are normally done at home are now done in class, while the activities that are normally done in class are done at home instead. For example, in a traditional classroom, the teacher would typically use class time to teach new topics and then assign homework, which the students go home to complete. A flipped classroom is just the opposite – the students are expected to watch pre-recorded lectures and read up on the topics by themselves at home before they come to class. Class time is solely reserved for the teacher to go through an overview of the topic, address questions, facilitate discussions and assess students. Think of a flipped classroom setting as your biology tuition teacher providing video recordings for you to watch at home and then using the lesson for you to share your thoughts on the videos, as compared to a traditional classroom setting where your Biology tuition teacher would let you watch the videos in class and assign you an essay to write at home.

The flipped classroom model became highly popularised after the COVID-19 pandemic, when many schools and institutions had to make the switch to remote learning. Most classrooms went online, and with less class time than in school, it became more efficient to assign students some lesson material to read up on before attending class. Even our Ang Mo Kio hub for Biology had to take lessons online, utilising a mix of technology to deliver our lessons as efficiently as possible.

These days, although more schools are beginning to move back to their physical classrooms, flipped classrooms have left their mark. The flipped classroom model is still in use in numerous places, especially in higher education such as universities. As such, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with this modern learning method so you can make the most of it when attending flipped classroom lessons.

Why are Flipped Classrooms Here to Stay?

The most prominent difference between a flipped classroom and a traditional classroom may be the proactivity of the students. In a traditional classroom, you may think of teachers droning on in large lecture theatres to a crowd of inattentive students. On the other hand, lesson time in a flipped classroom is almost always interactive, with students encouraged to ask questions and contribute to discussions. It not only makes lessons more interesting for everyone, but also ensures that everyone is on the same page. Sometimes, a discussion among multiple students can help to uncover new concepts and realisations that a single lecturer might have missed.

Flipped classrooms can also cater for different learning paces since the lesson is not being taught in class, but rather at each student’s own pace. Students get full autonomy on when and where they want to learn – be it in their own room, at a café, or even snuggled up in bed – as long as they are able to go through the content before the lesson. This is partly why flipped classrooms are so popular in universities and part-time educational institutions, as the students there tend to have more variable schedules. If you often find yourself at a different pace from the rest of your class, flipped classroom learning may be a good way to standardise your pace, such as spending more time studying to brush up on difficult topics, and reading the next topic in advance if you find the current one too easy.

What’s it Like to Learn Biology in a Flipped Classroom?

In a flipped classroom for Biology, you can expect to be reading up on each topic by yourself and essentially self-studying the entire syllabus with provided material. The idea is to come prepared to class with any doubts you wish to clarify with the teacher.

Biology is a content-heavy subject with plenty of concepts you need to understand and apply. As such, it is a great subject for flipped classroom learning. Before you begin learning, your teacher should have briefed you on how lessons will be conducted, including the various activities for each lesson. Instead of listening to your teacher explain each topic in class, you will be expected to learn the topic on your own first. Your teacher may address important concerns and common mistakes in class, as well as conduct practical sessions. Some lessons may be used for assessment components as well.

With a better understanding of flipped classroom learning, you’ll now be ready to get the maximum benefits out of your lessons!