Keeping Your Balance (about Flipped Classrooms)


More and more these days I find myself talking about balance in education.  I generally stay away from all or nothing propositions.  One of the things my balanced approach has me thinking about are the recent blog and Twitter posts about why we must abandon the flipped classroom.  Shelley Wright wrote earlier this month in a blog post about how her love affair with the flipped classroom is over and she is abandoning the technique.  Shelley makes a lot of good points in her piece and her science class sounds like a great place where students create their own meaning and find many if not all of their resources and tools.  I really don’t have an argument with Shelley, I have an argument with the unbalanced wave of disapproval that flipped classrooms are getting.  “Flipped teaching is another form of evil lecturing.”  “Flipped teaching still makes the teacher the font of all knowledge.”  Let’s keep our balance here!  I am not for teacher lecture as the centerpiece of teaching.  I have used elements of flipped teaching in my college classes where I outline an important procedure for my students and refer to my video or audio file rather than take up valuable class time “lecturing” about the procedure.  My class is an active one and my students do their best when I can move about the room to provide help to those who need it.  My more independent students work in ad hoc pairs to help each other. Flipped teaching is just a tool, like the many tools that teachers must use.  Flipped teaching, by itself, will not transform teaching.  When we fall in and out of love with a particular teaching approach or a particular teaching tool we tend to lose our balance and think of the tool or technique instead of our students.  Shelley argued for a student centered classroom and that is something I think we can all agree on.

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