Flipping a Classroom

ImageIn considering the flipped classroom, I have two perspectives that I’d like to share:  that as a potential student and that of a parent of a student.

As a potential student, I think I’d appreciate a flipped classroom.  I’ve never been a fan of sitting through lectures and have always felt that it was a waste of time to have an instructor talk at me for an hour in a one sided affair (World History anyone?).  I recall a physics professor who practically read from the textbook in class.  As a result, I tuned out in many of these classes, often choosing to read the textbook in class at my pace rather than listen to the professor.  The concept of being able to watch short videos at my own pace and at a time of my choosing along with being able to re-watch sections that didn’t make sense.   Spending the time in class to go over particularly difficult concepts or working in small groups seems to be a much better use of time.

As the parent of a student, I would love being able to see what was being taught to my child.  Too often I find myself trying to recall content material from decades ago in trying to help them with their work.  I find myself wondering who is really teaching my child, me or the classroom teacher.  With the flipped class, I could watch along with my child and my child could then formulate questions to be asked in class rather than asking me.

The key to all of this, though, seems to be selecting appropriate courses to flip and finding or training teachers to do so.  My favorite statement from the readings that rings true is “Bad pedagogy is bad pedagogy whether it’s flipped or not.”  Many of the articles point out that the flipped classroom is not a magic bullet but rather another tool.  When utilized properly, it’s a fantastic tool leading to teacher job satisfaction and improved student attitudes towards learning.  I think it’s important to consider some of Dr. Eric Mazur’s research on learning.  In particular, a successful instructor is one who prepares to teach material in class that the class doesn’t understand rather lecture over material that they do understand.    When combined with Alfie Kohn’s argument that student’s get little value out of homework, I think the flipped classroom makes even more sense.  Get rid of homework.  Provide content or direction for student inquiry at home.  Let teachers really teach in the classroom rather than reading to students.  Sounds like a winning approach to me!

Waters, A. (2012, November 28). Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2012: The Flipped Classroom. Hack Education. Retrieved from http://www.hackeducation.com/2012/11/28/top-ed-tech-trends-of-2012-flipped-classroom/

Graham, E. & Walker, T. (2013, March 29), What ‘Flipped’ Classrooms Can (and Can’t) Do for Education. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2013/03/29/what-flipped-classrooms-can-and-cant-do-for-education/

November, A. & Mull, B. (2012, March 29). Flipped Learning: A Response To Five Common Criticisms. Retrieved from http://novemberlearning.com/resources/articles/flipped-learning-a-response-to-five-common-criticisms-article/

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