Flipped Class – a student perspective

Below are some thoughts from one of my former middle school students who is now in high school & in a flipped classroom. I’ll let her words speak for themselves, but think her words speak to the state of science education well beyond the flipped class model.

My opinion on the flipped classroom varies for certain situations. I enjoy the freedom the flipped classroom gives me and I’m able to easily keep up with our everyday schedule. But, for students that have trouble learning from just a couple videos don’t do as well. It seems like every other day the teacher is spending the class period catching up the students who fell behind. This method really only benefits that small percentage of students who are able to memorize the notes they take on the videos we’re given.

I really have not learned anything in Chemistry. I’ve been giving the periodic table to memorize and a test on it after. We are told where they are, but not what they do or why they are there. Our assignments are usually made up of videos of OTHER people on the internet talking about some topic. We then have to take several notes on the videos and then are given a quiz the next day. The whole process is completed. My class has had a few labs that I litterally can’t remember what it was about. All our teacher did was showed us how to do the lab and then we just grouped up and copied her. She expects us to learn something from the labs. But, I don’t know how to learn from something that we were never given the reason WHY we need to do it.

The problem is that the teacher doesn’t guide us to learn something. We’re just given information to memorize knowing that less than a week away the information will just be forgotten. Our teacher has not even told us one thing about chemistry that will actually help us learn. She completely relys on other people’s work to “teach” us. I would have to say I learn more against the flipped classroom than with it. The method does have small benefits, but the flipped classroom mostly hurts the learning enviroment for every student.

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11 Responses to Flipped Class – a student perspective

  1. Brian Bennett says:

    I have a couple of thoughts. First, I’m sorry your former student has had such a bad experience. But, I would also like to highlight the fact that this teacher dove into something before thinking it through, which is the real issue.

    Flipped Learning isn’t in itself “bad” any more than PBL or Inquiry learning is “bad.” It is in the implementation where the cards show their value. I’ve used Flipped Learning for three years now, and I’ve had substantial gains in student comprehension of Chemistry…not memorization of facts.

    I’d be curious to hear if she would have had a better view of chemistry had she not been in her current one. Would she feel like she had “learned” more, or just gotten higher grades?

    Again, let’s think about the use of the tool, and not the tool itself.


    • jerridkruse says:

      I agree, Brian. However, the tools we use shape us as much as we shape them. The model is overly simplistic & lends itself to poor implementation while still being flipped whereas inquiry & PBL are more robust models.

      My preference is actually to not use any particular model, but to cut straight to how people learn. This allows me to be much more flexible in my planning.


  2. Nicholas Jones says:

    I completely agree with you. Brian. I am a curriculum director and have seen the flipped classroom work great in AP Macro Economics classes. I have also seen flipped classrooms fail when not used properly. Most of the time, it is the teacher not the method that is being used.


    • jerridkruse says:

      It’s pretty difficult to separate teacher & methods that they use. If I saw a teacher “doing” inquiry poorly I’d say it simply wasn’t inquiry. Unfortunately, a teacher can “do” flipping poorly & its still called flipping. This, to me, makes the model a poor model.


  3. Hi Jerrid,

    To me, this does not sound like a flipped classroom – it sounds like a classroom where a teacher is assigning videos to watch. A true flipped classroom is one where the focus of class time has been shifted from the teacher to the student, the responsibility for learning has been transferred to the student (with the support of the teacher), and class time is focused on higher-order thinking activities instead of rote memorization. In no way does the classroom above describe that mindset shift. Those three shifts can occur with or without video, but the transition from traditional education to those three things occurring in any given classroom using a variety of tools to get there is what the flipped classroom is all about.

    Thank you for sharing your student’s thoughts and I’m saddened whenever I hear or read about “flipped classrooms” occurring in this way.


    • jerridkruse says:

      Unfortunately, what you describe are science education goals that are decades old (see inquiry, nature of science, or learning cycle). If that’s what the flipped classroom really is then it is a non-thing as all of those things were around way before the flipped class & we don’t need *another* buzzword. So, tell me what makes the flip different than all the other efforts that predate it.

      It is the flip of in class work & out of class work that first defined the flip. If they’ve abandoned that, fine; but let’s stop claiming that it is new then.

      Sent from a mobile device


  4. James Smith says:


    What your student is describing is definitely NOT the true Flipped Classroom, but a rather poor attempt by a teacher, from what I can read, to have students watch other teachers teach them the material and then giving them a quiz, or other assessment on that material. This is really just poor teaching.

    The Flipped Classroom idea is one in which the students take notes as homework, preferably from something their teacher created [most do this, but I do know of one who has his students use the Brightstorm videos], and then do what would be usually called homework in the classroom. This makes the student an active learner and the teacher a facilitator of learning. You have to have a structured [scaffolding is the current buzzword, I believe] plan for what the students will do in the classroom and one needs to monitor time on task and work with the students to accomplish the activity. When one has gotten it advanced, a person can walk into a Flipped classroom and find three or four groups engaging in three or four separate activities, depending upon how the students are progressing through the material. When they have completed the activities, and the teacher has formatively checked for understanding, the students, at least in the Flipped Classrooms I have seen, then can take an assessment, usually online, that they must re-take until they get at least 75%

    I am no where near that level myself, but I have incorporated POGIL [Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning] modules as my daily activity in the classroom, along with some tried and true pencil and paper activities that I have found work very well in helping students understand concepts. If a teacher is doing a true Flipped Class, they haven’t abandoned their students to the work, which this teacher appear to have done, but they are actually able to engage the students much better and can help them go deeper into the Standard to truly get Mastery. My students find it a great way to learn because they can ask questions and can find answers and have me there to provide both reassurance and guidance. I think that the Flipped model is a great one, but it certainly can’t be done lightly, or with the idea that now you get to do nothing. That isn’t teaching. I don’t think this teacher is teaching.


    • jerridkruse says:

      What you talk about as the goals for the flipped class make sense. However, simply switching when things are done (which is how MOST people conceptualize the flip) does not lead to these goals. Shifting instruction to meet the goals your after require much more than moving around what stuff is done in class vs what stuff is done out of class.

      If you’re using POGIL, great, but then give that the credit for your improved teaching (or better yet, take the credit yourself!). The flip likely had little to do with it. I’d even bet that once you get really good at the POGIL stuff, you can do away with the out of class stuff meaning when you get really good, the flip is superfluous.

      I’ve got no problem with the goals of the flip-minded teachers. I do think the model is easily implemented poorly, and that is a problem when there are much better models out there: PBL, learning cycle, POGIL, (just to name a few).

      Thanks for your comment!


  5. Kayla Johnson says:

    Hi Jerrid,
    Again my name is Kayla Johnson. I attend the University of South Alabama, where I am in EDM 310, a classroom focused on teaching and familiarizing future teachers about the technologies of the 21st century. We recently had to watch a video on YouTube about the flipped classroom, and it doesn’t really match what your student was describing. The video on YouTube did mention that students did watch videos. In my opinion, it may be difficult for some students to comprehend videos, like your student said or the students may not have any form of technology in their home to watch videos. I think that there are many versions of the flipped classrooms and various opinion to go along with each one.
    Thanks for your thoughts,


  6. Hillary Hamlin says:

    Hi Jerrid,

    My name is Hillary Hamlin. I am in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. As you know, we recently had to watch a video about a flipped classroom. I understand that many different teachers have their own way of “flipping a classroom,” but I don’t think the teacher is being helpful by any means. The teacher is not guiding them to learn something. I believe that the flipped classroom only needs to be assigned in certain subjects because sometimes it is difficult to help students reach a certain mastery level. Thank you for the insight




  7. Sue Coluccio says:

    I too agree with several comments above. As I understand the flipped classroom, this student (surprisingly succinct ) described their classroom and not the true intent. But I have also seen in my school how “flipping the classroom” has been misinterpreted ( a teacher did a presentation for us). All I could think was these bored kids. It is the application of information that should be the goal for learning. Granted, students need context for the initial delivery of content, but if they don’t have a buy in, etc with the practice then they will soon forget. I have been doing Physics by Inquiry (university of Wa) for 12 years. Last summer I attended a POGIL workshop and started implementing. In my opinion, kids resist this learning at first because it is way more work. But by the end of 3 months, they look forward to coming to class.


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