Saturday, November 8, 2014

Flipping the Classroom

This concept of a "Flipped Classroom" is certainly an idyllic one. Additionally, it appears to be a very necessary one. As discussed in Why It's Time to Rethink and Question Homework, assigning homework assignments from a workbook seems to be an antiquated practice. In the article, Lepi purposes that assigning homework may not be personalized enough for students to gain any true mastery of a certain topic. As personalized learning is being practiced in the classroom, it's important that homework reflects this practice, while still maintaining an effective standard for assessment.

Instead of assigning different students different homework assignments, it would appear that homework should be taken out of this "one size fits all" characteristic that Lesi mentions, and instead rearranging assignments to fit more of a general rule with flexibility. While I agree with this notion, my concern is the issue of assessment which Lesi mentions. Ideally, students would be assigned homework that fits within their ZPD and adheres to his/her needs and interests. However, under the strict guidelines of Common Core, I'm not sure such flexibility is possible.

In addition, 7 Things You Should Know About Flipped Classrooms profiles the growing practice of a Flipped Classroom. The article discusses how this notion of a Flipped Classroom advocates active learning, collaboration, and student engagement with a "hybrid course design" of online lectures and in-class practice. From here, there is a "repurposing of class time" where in school, students can ask questions about the online lectures, and teachers can spend more time correcting possible errors and helping with confusing topics. In effect, students have quality time to reflect on the concepts being taught, rather than quickly taking notes and missing out on any valuable understanding.

One important aspect of a Flipped Classroom which the article mentions, and the ultimately reason why I'm skeptical of it's practice, is that it is widely shown in higher education models. The examples shown in the article pertain to colleges and universities. In higher education, I absolutely believe that Flipped Classrooms can be an effective learning model. I have participated in classes using similar models and I personally enjoyed it because of my interest and motivation. Students at this age (should) have the responsibility and know-how to engage in learning outside of the classroom, especially when lectures and learning materials are posted for you. The article brings up a good counterpoint that it may be a waste of tuition and may discourage students from actually going to class once the lecture is taught (something I am guilty of), however these effects are dependent on the individual student. And in the case of higher education, the student is the one responsible for their performance.

With that said, in primary and secondary education, most of the responsibility (I believe) is placed on the teachers and board of educators. Common Core seems to insist this. There is a strict set of lessons and content areas which the teacher is ultimately responsible for. While I like the idea of a Flipped Classroom placing more responsibility on the students and allowing for more collaborative learning, I am skeptical to believe that will actually succeed in, say, a 6th grade classroom. Time, parent involvement, and technological resources would be mandatory for successful implementation, and as we all know, such components are not universal to every student. Who's to say the student will actually want to engage in an online lecture? Who's to say the parent will discipline/help the child do this? In higher education models, these risks can slide since it's up to the student to succeed. However in a primary or secondary school, I don't think as teachers, we can take such risks.

1 comment:

  1. I think that a flipped classroom is too often described as changing from an in-class lecture to an at-home lecture. I don't think that a good foreign/second language class is ever a lecture class to start with. Therefore, I believe the take-away from the concept is that homework can be done in many new and more motivating ways than previously possible.