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The Advantages of Flipped Learning for Special Education

When teaching special education students, teachers commonly modify their lesson plans to accommodate students’ specific needs. In recent years, “flipped learning” has become a familiar term in the education community, and it refers to a form of this accommodation. Flipping a classroom means changing the traditional approach to classroom instruction. In the flipped model, students access pre-recorded lessons at home and then do their assignments”“previously, “homework””“at school. When handled well, flipped learning can support differently abled learners in one classroom by allowing each the most effective use of his or her time. At home, students can access their lessons as many times as they need to grasp the material, and then they can rely on their teachers as mentors while completing their assignments.

Those pursuing a Master of Education in Special Education degree online can expect an overview of alternative educational models currently supporting special education, including flipping the classroom.

Students Learn at Their Own Pace

Flipped classrooms ask students to watch pre-recorded lectures, lessons or other forms of digital learning content at home. On their own time, and at their own pace, students can stop, pause, replay, and adjust volume as needed, allowing them to more fully engage the material. This flexibility is especially important for special education students who struggle with comprehension or auditory learning. Additionally, giving students control of their learning environment allows them to select a space that they find most conducive to concentrating”“for example, at home in a bedroom instead of a busy classroom.

Students Who Miss Class Can Catch Up

Students with physical disabilities can often miss school for appointments with doctors or specialists. Offering remotely accessed, pre-recorded lessons keeps them connected with the curriculum even if they miss class. This equalizes the classroom in the sense that it prevents special education students from falling too far behind.

Teachers Have More Impact

Proponents of flipped classrooms argue that this model makes teachers more effective. Instead of simply lecturing at a class of students, teachers spend the majority of their time helping students with assignments, answering questions and otherwise truly teaching. Teachers can focus on observation, and they can step in with one-on-one mentorship as needed.

Flipped Classrooms Inspire Teachers

Those interested in teaching special education students often find themselves drawn to the dynamic role that teachers can play in the lives of special needs students. Many teachers report that flipping a classroom leads to better relationships with their students, and when the focus shifts from lecturing students to teaching them, job satisfaction increases.

Teaching special education students in a flipped classroom offers a number of advantages over traditional models. Special needs students can learn at their own pace by accessing their lessons as many times as necessary for full comprehension. Flipped learning also keeps students of varying learning abilities engaged with the same material — including those who have to miss class. Importantly, flipped learning also gives teachers more time for active mentorship in the classroom, which can inspire both teachers and students.

Learn more about the Lamar University online M.Ed. in Special Education program.


eSchool News: Flipped Learning Is Changing the Face of Special Ed

ASCD: Flip Your Classroom

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