Three Mistakes to Avoid When Flipping Your Classroom

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Scott Newbury

From my experience with tutoring, the students who end up needing extra help are the ones whose teachers don’t give them the one-on-one instruction they need. As teachers, we all want to see our students succeed, and we would all love to provide them with more face-to-face interaction, but we all know what it’s like — nobody has the time! I know I didn’t — until I decided to flip my classroom.

Flipping the classroom has gained popularity in recent years as an innovative and alternative approach to teaching. By reversing traditional teaching methods, students engage with instructional materials at home (videos, lessons, readings) and apply their knowledge during in-class activities (activities, debates, practice).

Sounds great! Your students will learn the material on their own time, and then you can use the entire class time to engage with students, especially those that need it most! However, while the flipped classroom model offers numerous benefits, navigating potential pitfalls is important to ensure successful implementation. This article will discuss three common mistakes to avoid when flipping your classroom, allowing you to make the most of this proven effective teaching strategy.

Pitfall #1: Insufficient Preparatory Work

You’re a great teacher! If you decide to flip your classroom around and have a textbook, videos, or other online materials instruct your students, then you have to make sure those resources are also great. One of the most critical mistakes in flipping the classroom is inadequate preparatory work. When they first try to flip the classroom, many teachers think their students can learn from anything they give them — which is not true!

Flipping the classroom requires thoughtful planning and preparation. Simply assigning pre-recorded lectures or online materials to students without assessing their effectiveness or alignment with curriculum goals can lead to suboptimal outcomes.

You also have to consider your students’ diverse learning needs and preferences. For example, you could incorporate a variety of instructional materials to cater to different learning styles, such as visual, auditory, or physical activities. By taking these preparatory steps, you can provide your students with a comprehensive and engaging learning experience.

Pitfall #2: Tracking Student’s Progress

Tracking whether or not your students engage with material at home is a never-ending struggle with flipped classrooms. When I first started, I would find myself having to teach the material before engaging in any of the other things I had planned, which didn’t work out how I envisioned it. Combating this problem can seem daunting, but here are some things that worked for me.

One possible solution is to test your students with small knowledge quizzes regularly. Creating online, self-marking quizzes can go a long way to keeping your students accountable and engaged in the content.

Another possible solution is to track your student’s progress. This works best when using a video-based curriculum with these tools built in. StudyForge’s online curriculum was a huge help, as the program allows the teacher to see every video, reading, and practice question the student opened and how much engagement occurred. This automatically led to students being more prepared for class activities.

Pitfall #3: Ineffective Use of Class Time

Another common mistake when flipping the classroom is not effectively using your classroom time with students. While students acquire knowledge independently at home, the in-class time should be utilized for collaborative activities, discussions, and problem-solving exercises that promote deeper understanding and application of concepts.

Design interactive and hands-on activities that encourage student engagement and critical thinking to avoid this mistake. This could include group discussions, debates, case studies, and practical experiments. These activities enable students to apply their pre-learned knowledge, develop problem-solving skills, and enhance their critical thinking ability.

Learning independently can also be daunting to many students, so leaving plenty of time for each student to have face time with their teacher is also critical to their success. And because you’re no longer spending 50% of the time lecturing, the students who need that one-on-one instruction will get it.

Bonus Pitfall: Giving Up Too Early

Changing the culture of your classroom takes time. Some students will probably not like it as they are now more accountable and must collaborate more with their peers. But, you have to push through and give the change time to properly assess whether or not it is working for your students. Trust me, when it works, it is a wonderful experience, and you get to know your student’s strengths and weaknesses on a much deeper level.


Flipping the classroom can be both wonderful and challenging. To ensure successful implementation, it is crucial to avoid common mistakes. By investing time in preparatory work, incorporating active learning strategies, and developing ways to track your students as they engage with the material, you can enhance the flipped classroom experience and make it an enjoyable experience for both you and your students.

About the Author

Scott Newbury, B.Sc, B.Ed

STEM Curriculum Developer

Scott has a Bachelor of Science with a Joint-Major in Physics and Math, and a Bachelor of Education. He has 17 years teaching experience and 6 years in a blended classroom. He is currently a STEM curriculum developer for StudyForge and has a passion for using technology in education to ensure every student comes away with a great experience.

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