Tuesday, October 8, 2013

To Flip or Not To Flip?

To Flip of Not to Flip? So, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the "Flipped Classroom". I LOVE it! I've done it a few times in my classes, and I think it has worked out amazingly well. I don't do it for every lesson, but I choose the ones that are the most difficult for the students to comprehend and do it then. The problem I have is I see other using "the flip" in very ineffective ways, and it is really upsetting. I don't know how to address them in a way that would be constructive and non-threatening. For instance, there's a teacher that claims to be flipping her class. Her students go home and take notes on a PowerPoint. They come back to class. She may spend 5 minutes (this is her own admission in a parent conference) answering questions. She then has the students complete guided notes over the information as she sits at her desk and waits for them to approach her with their questions. If they don't have any questions, she'll either grade papers or work on her computer (yet again, her own admissions in a parent conference). I see this as a complete waste of flipping a class. How is this any different from what the students used to do when they would go home and read the textbook, taking notes? I think in classes that are still structured like that, those teachers still lecture, so the students are getting some guidance in the attainment of content. The students feel unsupported in this classroom. It is so unfortunate because these are the best students in our school and would benefit so much from the flipped classroom. This is the one thing that frustrates me about the claim of a student-centered classroom. You have teachers who take that as it is the students' job to figure out what they know and what they don't know. I'm just here to guide them along the way. Really? I teacher 14 year olds. They aren't sure about anything in their lives, let alone what they completely understand and what confuses them about Geography or Algebra 2 or Biology or Shakespeare. I'm all for them learning this, but I know they don't have that expertise just yet. Heck, there are things I think I understand and can do, but I only realize I can't after giving it a try. I'm not sure what the answer is, I just want people to be mindful of going along with the new eduction trend, but not doing it in a meaningful way. There are so many great ideas out there, choose the one that best fits you and your classroom, and do it all the way. Your students will know that you don't fully buy into it, and they may possibly revolt against you at some point in the year. Just some thoughts. Stewart