Have we flipped our minds?

I have some concerns/questions about this flipped classroom thing.

As a true Alfie Kohn pupil, I do not believe in homework. I hear of students going home to spend   3-4 hours daily on homework after spending 7 hours a day at school. Should students be spending more time at home learning content before they even step into the classroom?

The infographic Flipped Classroom Defined seems to say that before the flipped classroom 50% of freshmen failed English and 44% of freshman failed math in Clintondale High School near Detroit. After the flipped classroom model only 19% of freshman failed English and 13% failed math. I can’t deny those are impressive results; but results based on what? I can’t help but wonder how these students were assessed? low level thinking skills? higher level thinking skills? critical thinking? etc..

In What Does ‘Design Thinking’ Look Like in Schools Saxe says, “if you tell an answer to a child you’ve deprived them of a great learning opportunity.” Isn’t that what we are doing when we flip the classrooms, telling students the concepts instead of creating a learning opportunity for them to figure it out themselves?

The article Flipping the Classroom explains flipping as “the reversal of the traditional teaching methods- with lecturing done outside class time and tutoring (or homework) during it. Well I already said I don’t believe in homework and now I’d like to add, I don’t believe in lecturing. I agree with Carl Wieman, Physics nobel prize winner that we must “de-emphasize lecture and emphasize active problem-solving,” Where is the inquiry process in lecturing? Where is problem solving in flipped environments? How does a flipped environment promote inquiry?

If learning is social how are we promoting this with flipped classrooms? Shouldn’t students be able to question content, discuss content and learn from one another? Watching a video at home independently does not sound to me like collaborative learning.

Does the flipped classroom work for all year groups? What would this look like in a kindergarden or first grade classroom?

I’m not saying that I am totally against this notion, I’ve seen some interesting videos that make it look awesome and worth wile. But until I get to address some of my concerns/questions I don’t think I will be diving into it.

2 thoughts on “Have we flipped our minds?”

  1. Hi Ju,

    You’ve been battling with me for years over whether or not homework is a good thing, and this week’s study on the Flipped Classroom is what has finally gotten me to agree with you. I think there are elements of the Flipped Classroom that are fantastic, like students’ ability to access learning materials at any hour of the day, to pace their own learning (pause, rewind, rewatch, review) but I think that like any innovation in education, the Flipped Classroom in the wrong hands is just going to turn into more work at home for students. However, in our DP program, where students have study periods to review and several weeks before the exams to prepare independently, I think the resources that develop from a flipped classroom are invaluable.

    In such a young classroom as yours, I wonder about the value of flipping the classroom for your parents? What if you, Rhena and Norma created short videos for parents on how to support the development of their child’s reading skills at home while reading a picture book? Or used some of your outside math time to create a video showing parents how they can support their children in counting on and back while just having a family walk outside?

    For me, flipping the library means flipping it for teachers. I wonder if for your age level, it could mean flipping it for parents.

    Nice post,

  2. Juliana: Good thoughts on flipping in the earlier years. Like you, I’m not crazy about homework, and I’ve grown more and more uncomfortable with the amount of work we give kids outside our classrooms (NB I teach high school, and even then, I’d like to decrease the homework.) There’s a lot to learn in DP programs, and it’s unlikely that kids can learn it all in class, but I think we’ve reached a point of diminishing returns (and increasing stress / distaste for learning) when kids are doing 5 hours a night, every night.

    Katy’s note above about “flipping for parents” is a great idea. So much of our work at any grade level involves communicating with families; what can we do to make that communication more available, engaging, and student-centered? Do class blogs or regular video updates of curriculum count?

    Good luck in Course 5!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *