Can I perfect the flip?

The notion of the “flipped classroom” has been around for a year or two now.  Whilst being hailed as revolutionary in some circles, the Khan Academy, who popularized the idea, has been criticized in others.

I tend to fall in the second group.  The flipped classroom is really just chalk and talk, but using technology.  In many ways, it closely resembles the most old-fashioned teaching methodology around: teacher explains, with no input from students, and then students do drills to practice.  The social, and discovery or investigative aspects of learning mathematics are lost.

But is the flipped classroom all bad? Could it perhaps be incorporated in a blended approach?  One thing we all agree on, as teachers, is that we should be varying our approaches, making sure all learning styles are catered for, as much as possible.

For next year, I would like to try the flipped model for a small number of concepts per unit.  That is, the students would watch a video for homework about once every 5 lessons.  This does not just need to be a chalk and talk model either: perhaps we might have done an investigation in class, or some experimenting, so the video merely confirms and articulates conclusions the students have already formed.

But my most exciting thought is how this could start to develop through the school.  If a partially flipped model is used across several disciplines, we could have a half-day once per week or fortnight, with no scheduled classes, when students spend time in the class or classes where they need the most help.

Learning2.012 (@learning2, #learning2 on Twitter) takes place this coming October in Beijing.  The flipped classroom model is one of the extended sessions featured at this conference.  I am eager to attend and have the opportunity for my ideas to evolve further.

About eadurkin

Originally a HS Mathematics teacher from New Zealand, currently working as Associate Principal in the Secondary School at Canadian Academy, an international school in Kobe, Japan. Married with two children.
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2 Responses to Can I perfect the flip?

  1. John Chapman says:

    Check the Wikipedia page on Flip Teaching… it starts be defining it as a form of blended learning. It is not just reversing homework and lecture. It’s working to use the in class time for more application and less direct instruction. Partnered with differentiated instruction and project-based instruction, it becomes a powerful way to increase student engagement, which is the only way that learning occurs.

    • eadurkin says:

      Hi John
      Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I can see it has potential as you say, and will be looking into it further. Thanks again.

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