StateImpact went viral! Not on YouTube, but with our post on YouTube — or more broadly, online videos, and how teachers are using them in place of in-class lectures.
A lot of teachers shared their experiences with the “flipped classroom” in our post’s comments section. To try and get a sense of what they think about the practice (which hasn’t been widely studied), all of the comments featured in this week’s Mailbag post — with a few exceptions — come from teachers.
The first of these teachers, John Davenport, says his semi-flipped experiment didn’t work out too well:
This looks a lot like what I was doing in my middle school social studies classes last year. Unfortunately, parent complaints about “too much tech” prompted my administrators to pull the plug on my program (pun intended). My district then took half of my students away from me and assigned them to a “traditional” classroom, claiming that they were providing parents with “choice.” Schools are often less open to innovation than one would think.
KCParker, an eighth grade math teacher in North Carolina, say her students love the method just as much as her students’ parents:
My students love it. My students’ parents love it. The biggest complaint I get from parents is that they want to help their student with the math homework, but they just don’t remember how to. The flipped classroom eliminates the home frustration of not knowing how to do the math and in a way invites the parents to my classroom without having to physically be there. The students in my classroom work in centers and I sit with about 8 students at a time while the others practice in different ways (i.e. puzzles, games, challenge problems). This really lets me see on a daily basis who is getting it and who is not.
Jessica Brogley, on the other hand, teaches college freshmen. She says she found the students weren’t receptive to the flipped classroom model:
One student even said, “My teachers last year just stood up there and told me what to learn. This isn’t teaching!”… Maybe I’ll revisit this, but the group has to be mature and committed to their education. The flipped classroom approach also widens the digital divide. My students with dial-up were unable to watch the videos and were unwilling to go to their public library or a friend’s house. I also have students with no internet at all. Overall, I love the idea of a flipped classroom and I see myself as a supporter, but the group of students has to be self-motivated and willing to access the internet when they can’t afford it.
Finally, Philip Mcintosh — who didn’t identify himself as a teacher — took issue with the gripes of Frank Noschese, the teacher we quoted in our story who criticized the flipped classroom:
Frank Noschese still doesn’t get it. His points are valid but limited in scope. He cannot seem to get a grip on the two (and perhaps only) things that make the flipped class concept one that needs to be further developed and implemented. (1) It frees up more time for the learner-in-chief (formerly known as the teacher) to assist those who need it most; and (2) it creates a learner-centered environment instead of a teacher-centered one. Bad teaching is bad teaching no matter the method so it is silly to slam the flipped class method because it might be done by a “bad teacher.” I believe, that in most cases, good learning in a flipped class is going to achieve better results (especially over the long term as it influences a person’s ability to learn new things in the future) than good teaching in a non-flipped class.