Oct 2, 2012

The Flipped Classroom - Is it Best Practice?

I've heard and read a bit about the new "Flipped Classroom" phenomenon and this most recent article has me wondering a few things.  The concept behind the "Flipped Classroom" is to switch your in-class instruction with the student's homework so that your students are watching your instruction at home and working on their homework while in your classroom.  According to the article 'Flipped classrooms' in North Texas turn traditional teaching on its head, the teachers have recorded their in-class lectures for the students to watch at home on their computers or portable devices and the teachers are "Freed from lecturing...they can use class time to delve deeper into the subject, focus on difficult concepts and work individually with students."  The results purportedly show improvements in engagement and test scores.

My Concerns and Thoughts:

  • How engaged, whether in school or at home, have you ever been by a lecture? (That goes for middle school through college and beyond)

    • I don't think that lecturing has ever been on the top of my most engaging teaching techniques list.

    • I'm sure there are times when a bit of lecture is appropriate, but not for any sustained length of time.

  • If teachers need more time to work with their students to explore the depths of their content, why don't they just revise the curriculum to incorporate more opportunities for the students to be stewards of their own resources and information gathering?

    • Let the students create their own libraries of resources (making sure to cite all references) and gather the data needed to answer the inquiry type questions posed by teachers in the classroom.

    • Let the in-class time be devoted to working with the data/information collected outside of school and synthesizing it with regard to the bigger picture, which is what we should be teaching toward anyways.

    • The new Common Core State Standards are going to require teachers to go in this direction.

  • Everything should be done in moderation.

    • Don't get me wrong, I think the concept of a flipped classroom is an intriguing idea, but should be done sparingly and WHEN appropriate.

    • I think that showing a video clip or watching a short presentation and discussing/writing about it in class with the help of your teacher might not be a bad way to flip your classroom, but I can't imagine you would be able to get away with doing this on a regular basis.

What do you think?