(Authentically) “Flipping” the Classroom

It’s all the rage: Teachers from coast to coast are “flipping classrooms“. To wit, they are directing student to complete core learning via online resources (e.g. videos) at home or outside of class time. What’s happening during class time? That’s for reviewing assignments and homework before teeing up the next “flipped” assignment. 

According to proponents, the “flipped classroom” helps 

– increase interaction and personalized contact time between students and teachers
– provide an environment where students take more responsibility for their own learning
– provide a classroom where the teacher is not the “sage on the stage”, but the “guide on the side”
– blend direct instruction with constructivist learning
– provide a classroom where students who are absent due to illness or extra-curricular activities such as athletics or field-trips, don’t get left behind
– provide a class where all students are engaged in their learning
– personalize education for all students 

That’s quite a list of alleged benefits. 

I’m inclined to believe the list to some extent, particularly because I know that the pioneers of flipped classrooms are also dedicated educators who do hold high expectations for themselves as well as their students. 

Where the flipped model falls short, IMO, is in its generally passive nature, and and its failing to give kids opportunities to be teachers – something I would identify as AUTHENTICALLY “flipping” a classroom. 

The benefitis from enabling and empowering students to take charge of teaching activities are multiple, including planning, communicating and confirming learning. It’s a missing component from conventional schooling and mainly because classroom teachers are generally reluctant to “share the stage”, despite the claim above. That’s also why so many people with excellent credentials – parents, retirees, etc. – are also excluded from joining in on teaching activities.    

When students are impeded from teaching, they miss out on a learning experience, or multiple learning experiences, that presupposes deep and lasting implications, supported by the lastest findings of neurobiology that distinguish experiential from passive learning.  

Which drives me flipping crazy.  

For information on my book: Learn Your Way! SelfDesigning the Life You Really Want, Starting Now (2011) and to order a copy, go here.  

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