My last post had some criticism of the flipped classroom. David Cox, Frank Noschese and I were discussing the nuances on twitter and each had an important insight. David noted that the better flip described in my example lesson is to put the problem first then the teaching. Frank chimed in by noting that the example flips to put exploration before explanation. Both of these ideas are not “new” (see problem based learning or the learning cycle), but our discussion highlights that the “what is done at home vs what is done at school” is not the most important “flip”. In some ways, I believe the home/school flip is simply a reorganization of pretty traditional instruction. So, what then might be better “flips”:
- Rather then explain then explore, have kids explore first so that the explanation better addresses their thinking.
- Rather than explain a concept then having students try a problem, have students try a problem first to see what they come up with.
- Rather than abstract ideas preceding concrete examples, instruction should start with concrete representations
- Rather demonstrating procedures to students, encourage them to create their own procedures.
- Rather than asking questions to confirm student understanding, ask students questions to guide their learning.
- Rather than letting curricula decide how we teach, use student interest to meet curricula.
- Rather than letting politicians decide the direction of education, education professionals should be setting the course.
- Rather than using assessment to judge students, use assessment to better meet students’ needs.
Of course actually doing these things is much more difficult than simply switching where/when kids listen to a lecture and when they do practice problems (yes, I know this overly simplifies the flipped classroom). Real educational change requires us to flip so much more than the the classroom work vs homework. So, while the current notion of the flipped classroom is a step in the right direction, we still have a long way to go.
I am sure I've missed some flips. Please, add more in the comments.