Leaving the Flipped Classroom…

A couple weeks ago while taking a look at the Flipped Classroom hashtag (#flipclass) I saw a Flipped Classroom educator (name escapes me now) who said he would be going back to traditional lecture based instruction this next semester. His rationale, if I remember correctly, was to see how different his practice has become and to evaluate the pros and cons of each method.

Leaving the Flipped Classroom to learn more about ones teaching…this intrigued me and got me thinking of my own practice. Would this be a worthwhile venture for me? I am a strong believer in reflection and what better way to see how things have evolved than to step back and see what things used to be. Hmmm…

After some thought I realized I would be doing my students a disservice if I choose to go back to the way I used to teach. I wouldn’t be giving my students all I have to offer. I don’t flip my classroom because it is hip, I flip because it is the best of me. I feel that I am a better teacher as a Flipped Classroom teacher. Do I know that I am a better teacher? No. Do I have some anecdotal evidence that says I am? Yes, I suppose so, my thesis / student surveys / student gossip, but it is far from conclusive evidence. As a professional I make choices every day. Is that learning outcome as important as this one? Should that student write that test today? Is that student doing ok, she looks unhappy? This situation is no different. For a number of reasons, many which I have discussed in previous blog entries, I feel that what I bring to the table as a Flipped Classroom teacher is greater than when I don’t flip. I am not saying that this is the case for all teachers, but it is for me.

So I will NOT be leaving the Flipped Classroom. Leaving may provide me with some additional insight into my practice but the cost it would have to my current students is not worth it. I think as teachers we owe our students the best of us, whatever that may be. The best of me is when I am flipping.


About flippingmath

Math Teacher, Flipper, Blue Jays Fan
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6 Responses to Leaving the Flipped Classroom…

  1. Autar says:

    Nothing wrong with the teacher trying to find the best mechanism of teaching their students. There is no need to mimimize the effectiveness of direct instruction. Have you ever thought that maybe the resources which you developed for the flipped classroom are the reason your students are doing better. Is every student doing better? Who are these students getting left behind in the flipped classroom? When measuring success, are you using the same assessment questions. Some teachers are replacing tests in the regular classroom by projects in the flipped classroom and using them to figure out success. That does not seem right.

    • flippingmath says:

      Thanks for your comments Autar.

      I agree that teachers are professionals and it is up to them to find ‘the best mechanism of teaching their students.’ My argument was that I feel I have found that and to leave it would not be the best for MY students.

      I still use aspects of direct instruction myself and have many colleagues who are extremely effective at that method. Personally I did not feel I was. By moving into my practice in a different direction with the Flipped Classroom it has allowed me to explore new things and change.

      I am not sure the point you are trying to make with the resources…of coarse the resources are helping me students… Is every student doing better? No. Does every student like it more? No. But I don’t think everyone liked or benefited from how I used to teach. The evidence I have, while perhaps not a perfect study with thousands of participants, says that the Flipped Classroom has led to a significant improvement in my practice.

      I use all types of tasks to assess my students. In-class activities, labs, journals, quizzes, and tests. I disagree that teachers cannot assess students as you said with just projects. A rich PBL project is an excellent opportunity to see what students know and don’t know in a real-life situation.

      • Autar says:

        I was not suggesting PBL is not a good assessment tool, but one when comparing two methods, one needs to keep the assessment tool the same. We need to look for prescriptive solutions, not just general solutions. This paper is eye opening. http://www.aft.org/pdfs/americaneducator/spring2012/ae_spring2012.pdf The site may be down right now.

      • flippingmath says:

        You must remember that as a teacher it is my professional judgement to do what I think is best for my students. When I embraced the Flipped Classroom I also embraced a new way of assessing my students. I understand that it is comparing apples and oranges but I refuse to treat my classroom as though it is some kind of experiment by using my old assessment strategies. The only assessment that I can say is the same before and after is the Provincial Exam we offer in BC. My students have scored significantly better on it since moving towards a Flipped Classroom.

        The link you sent was inactive.

      • Autar says:

        Great. I am just playing devli’s advocate to some extent. I was not questioning your professional judgement. The provincial exam performance needs to compared using a two-tailed t test. It is easy to do with an excel spreadsheet.

        The link may be inactive because the site may be down for maintenance.

        I am using partially flipped classroom myself. Half of the lectures that I think in my “professional judgement” are more suited for flipped teaching are flipped. There is a push back from some students but I need to see from whom and why.

  2. Congratulations for successfully implementing the Flipped Classroom model.

    Flipped classroom clearly questions individualistic assumptions of our education system.
    It’s clearly the way world works in collaborative fashion.
    Kids deserve to learn to collaborate and work together early in their life to be successful outside of the school and get more of teacher’s personal attention.

    Here is a nice video by Stanfard about Teaching in the Digital Age by Stanford Professor.

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