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.