being me, classroom expectations, homework, talking

Flipping for the Flipped Classroom Seems To Be the Trend but Not for Me

from icanread

Hey Pernille, we watched a video on the Khan and the flipped classroom model today.  I think you would love it!

Oh, yes I am already familiar with it, why do you think I would love it?

Well, you love technology….

It’s true, I love technology for what it does for my students and I.  I love that we can grab cameras and document our learning.  I love that we can blog and start conversations with others.  I love that I send my students out the door with tools that others may not know about in middle school, thus spreading their knowledge and giving them options.  But I don’t love the flipped classroom, it’s not for me, sorry.

Sure, it is a cool concept.  Videotape your lecture so that it can be accessed anywhere and then use the class time to discuss and investigate and really learn more.  I love the classroom part.  I love the idea of not standing in front of students talking and instead getting to the actual work stage, the exploration, the stage that the kids so desperately want to get to anyway.  But the lecturing is not for me.  Sure, there are times when I have to provide background for my students, in fact, every day that happens, but the idea of taping a lecture and then forcing them to watch it on their own time upsets me.

When I do my background providing, or “teaching” in class, we have discussions.  The students ask questions, clear up misconceptions, and sometimes we end up in a totally different arena then we intended.  I know I need to keep it short, I know I need to keep it relevant so that we can do the work, so that the kids can have time to explore.  I know I could talk a lot longer if I had the opportunity.  Being on live in front of the kids mean I have to be a story teller, I have to be at my best so that they stay with me and stay engaged.  Sure, there are times I wish I had it recorded so that they could watch it again because they didn’t get it the first time, but then I realize that they didn’t get it because I didn’t do a good enough job explaining it.  And having a recording of me explaining it poorly is not going to do them any favors.

Then there is the homework aspect of the flipped classroom.  We expect students to use their time outside of school to watch all of these videos. Can you imagine how much time that would be if every class in a high school setting required this?  My teenage rebel self rolls her eyes.  I would never have been into that as a teen and in college I did my homework on my breaks at work, my breaks between school and work and wherever I could.  I didn’t sit in front of a screen, nor did I have access to it.  I worked full-time while going to school full-time and did much of my reading in my car.  Flipping my classes would have meant that was not an option.  Sure, times have changed since I graduated 5 years ago, students have more access to portable computers, yet we are still asking them to take their outside time and do the work in a matter determined by us.  We are still taking their time.

So I leave you with this simple question, why not skip the lecture altogether?  Perhaps we wouldn’t need the concept of the flipped classroom if we just stopped talking and got to the point?  Perhaps if we actually honed our craft as story tellers, not as lecturers, students would have the opportunity to get the teaching and the exploration all at once?  I know it sounds crazy but I think it can be done, we just need to stop talking so much.

9 thoughts on “Flipping for the Flipped Classroom Seems To Be the Trend but Not for Me”

  1. I agree, flipped classrooms sound great but only for certain subjects at specific times. I would have loved it when I was stuck in an advanced algebra and trig class. I couldn't take notes fast enough or write the examples with explanations that I could decipher once I got home. A video might have helped then.

  2. I agree with you…thanks for having the courage to go against the grain here. I also love to use technology and to teach my students how it can enrich their learning but there has always been something keeping me from jumping on this band wagon. It dawned on me a couple of days ago…I thought back to an economics class I took as a freshman at Michigan State University (my first life was in the business world). The class was so large that there was no space on campus to accommodate that number. We watched the lecture portion on cable TV at our residence and then attended smaller sessions taught by graduate students for help if needed. I HATED THIS!!! I'll write another time why. Thanks for listening.

  3. I agree whole-heartedly with your post. Flipping the classroom may work for some, but note me. I love class discussions and would much rather have my students engage with me, than watch me on a screen. Instead of pause and rewind, they have the option to ask, question, and disagree. The key is to create an environment where this is encouraged and facilitated. I do use videos and have kids review, especially in mathematics. But I much prefer the ability to teach in a variety of ways, than the one size fits all approach of a video.

  4. I ABSOLUTELY agree. I would rather see the student spend 15 minutes reading something of their choice. Watching a video as homework would not be for me ~ that reminds me of the 3 day a week 16mm movies during US History. It always gave me time to finish homework from my other classes!Thanks for your bravery!

  5. I think there is probably some use for video instruction. I also know that I've seen it badly abused, by teachers and students alike. For me, it's also an access issue. Many of my students have no Internet or computer access once they leave school and have no transportation to stay late or visit a library. It all comes down to the point of your post – doing what's best for each child at a given time in a given setting. I love that you and your students are creating the content rather than just soaking in what others create. I love that you use technology for communication. I am in a slightly different situation in that my (high school) students ARE expected to do some learning on their own and some preparation for class, on their own. I work really hard at asking them to do authentic work, meaningful preparation on their own time rather than trying to digest difficult content with no one with whom they can talk it over as they try to learn. Keep fighting the good fight.

  6. To me, the flipped classroom model is an attempt to bridge the gap between learning at home and learning at school. I completely understand the idea of wanting kids to come into the classroom having background knowledge in order to discuss that knowledge. My problem is we are asking them to spend time (their time) learning things that they may not have any interest in. For example, my wife has to write a paper for her geology class. She has put it off all week and this morning she imparted these words of wisdom, "It is awfully hard to write a paper about something you have no interest in." Isn't this what most homework is like?I propose a change. What if (have to love the what if questions 😉 we bring the learning they are doing at home into the classroom? Instead of sending math or history home, they bring in cooking or sewing or even (gasp!) video games? Yes, we have curriculum to impart and I believe that the shared experiences of that curriculum help us identify with each other as a large group (common core anyone?). I believe we need to teach much of what we are expected to, but I also believe there is room for the kids to choose things too.

  7. I heard about "flipping the classroom" and thought it sounded great to have the class time for projects, instead of direct instruction. So, I tried to flip my math lessons for one unit (I teach 5th grade) and found many things. First, it took me forever to get the hand of recording the lessons and it took me way more time to record the example questions. Once I got the hang of it, it was faster. Second, not all the students would watch it, or watched it while doing something else so they didn't remember it in the morning. These students had to watch the video again in the classroom before they could do the practice in class. And this only put them at a disadvantage. Third, one of the parents mentioned that his child is tired at the end of the day, and to be asked to learn something new at 7:00 at night was too much. It's actually a thoughtful perspective and I took it as constructive feedback. At the end of the unit, I found the test scores were about the same. The kids who usually do well, did. They ones who usually struggle, did. So I can say I tried and found it not a good idea for 5th grade math. Now using videos as follow up or ways to make sure all the students have prior knowledge is something I would still do, but not everyday. Whatever it is needs to be supplemental or a way to get kids interested in what is coming next. That is just my opinion. Thanks for sharing yours!

  8. I absolutely love the sharing of ideas, opinions, and stories here. The one point that stands out is we need to make whatever we do in the classroom work for us and work for our students. And since we are all so different that needs to look very different. There is no one silver bullet for education and I would find it incredibly sad if Khan was it. He is a tutor, a tool, and not even the originator of the flipped classroom model. I just hope that it does not become a mandate at my school or others to do this.And, as always, I am against homework so the flipped classroom would never work for me.

  9. Another great post that has helped me pinpoint my own ideas! I have been thinking a lot about the whole flipped classroom theory, and while I have talked about trying to flip my classroom I know I'm not doing in the way that most people are discussing: watching lectures at home and working in classroom.Like you, Pernille, I struggle with the idea of assigning my 9 and 10 year old students with watching a lecture at night for a couple of reasons:- Why would they want to sit through a lecture? – With all their other activities would they have time? Shouldn't they use extra time to play?- If my students don't have the background knowledge to understand things in a discussion, will the truly understand by watching a vide?- What about my students who do not have access to the Internet? – Who is going to be there to help my kids if they don't understand what I'm saying? One of the important skills my students still lack at this age is that they don't really know what questions to ask when they don't understand. I would never expect the parents to sit and try to teach the kids (and, in all honesty, some might not be able to do that) so that would really defeat the purpose of the whole "flipped classroom theory" that people are touting.Your point of simply doing away with the whole lecture aspect really makes sense to me. It was that a-ha moment! I knew the idea of flipping the classroom didn't make sense to me, but I wasn't quite able to pinpoint what a flip would look like for me. When you talk about needing to do what works for your students and you in your comment, it finally clicked. Now, if only I could keep the same group of kids for several years (I used to loop – sadly we've done away with it) to really get to know and understand what works for my kids.

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