On a Southwest flight the other day, I noticed the feature article in their magazine was about flipping the classroom. I wonder how many teachers are doing this and what they think about it–really. I am rather cynical about new reforms (as is evident by my book title), especially when they have catchy names. But I’d already heard about flipping and decided to read more about it. After all, if you consider nothing new you are old. So sell me on this flipping business, I thought, and forged ahead reading the article and eating my honey roasted peanuts.
For one thing, having students do the heavy learning, and instructing themselves online, with a virtual instructor, at home, seems to be somewhat similar to, well, online learning.
Real classroom teachers set up projects/labs etc. in the classroom and move around and interact, but students are supposed to arrive at school having learned the information the night before.
The article had some objectivity explaining how, when students described in the flipped class in the description, arrived at school, only one had done the work the night before. Uh Oh. But the teacher seemed to continue with a little cool response to the students like “Hey guys!” I am not sure if that was exactly what he said because I didn’t write it down, nor did I swipe the article. I just remember he was pretty cool about it.
I still don’t know about flipping. I suppose, like online learning, sometimes it might be nice with older students to push them to be responsible at home and to find the information and teach themselves. That is, after all, what we want students to ultimately be able to do.
But with the current reforms, I get a little queasy thinking of the teacher manipulating the classroom to fit the assignment, but not being seen as the ultimate purveyor of knowledge. If I weren’t so paranoid about the ultimate predicted disruptive techy takeover with MOOCS and online universities all over the place, maybe I’d be more thrilled about flipping. But, I can’t help it. I like to see teachers teaching and students learning right there in the classroom. That way you can keep your eyes on them and know they are doing the work. Little things like that….