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Does Anyone Know Anything About "Flip Teaching?"

My kids' Catholic school is, I think, going to be discussing going towards a "Flip Teaching" curriculum.

I don't know anything about it. I'm open minded about it. If it helps kids learn I'm game. But if it's just more hippie ridiculousness I've got a problem.

It seems that kids study a subject first and then the teacher comes in to help them. Doesn't sound like a great idea to me but hey, maybe it is. But I'm putting this blog to some good use finally. If you know anything about this "flip teaching" please let me know.

Is it a disaster? Is it awesome? Is it just the same ol same ol' with a cool sounding name? Depending on the answer I may have some very big decisions to make.

*subhead*Flip.*subhead*

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16 comments:

Red Cardigan said...

I've never heard of it before, but after looking it up, it sounds like exactly what we do around here! Except we call it "homeschooling"...

;)

Pamela said...

I do a little of it, hopefully more next year. I'm a second year high school biology teacher at a Catholic school with a background in biological research, if my credentials help.

The idea is that kids don't get much out of sitting there getting lectured to, but you don't have time to do hands on stuff or discussion because they have to get the information somehow. Or you spend all of your time teaching a student how to do a math problem, get a little practice in class, but when they get home to do their homework, they don't remember how to do the problem and you sure don't want them performing chemical labs at home.

So you flip the situation. They get to sit at home and watch a short video lecture, usually 10-15 minutes long. The great thing is that if they need to sit and rewind the video and rewatch - they can'. You can't rewind a teacher in a classroom! Then, when they have an idea of what's going on, they come back to the classroom and do something hands-on. Maybe its a lab based on the information they got and now they can put it into action. Maybe they do a problem set in class, but this time, if they hit a roadblock, the teacher is right there, able to help.

There is some fascinating anecdotal evidence about how good this can be for students, especially more kinesthetic type learners who need to do, not just hear or read something. I hope it comes as a great success to your childrens' school!a

Mack Hall, HSG said...

Pamela seems to possess an excellent grasp of reality -- an openness to new ideas kept in check by experience. What could go wrong with flipping is an administrative obsession with it and a demand that this technique be applied with every student in every situation. There are no magic beans.

Amy Giglio said...

I'm watching some videos on youtube right now about this. It actually sounds pretty cool. Here is a TED talk about it: http://youtu.be/a5bYuYvl42I

Proteios1 said...

I'm a university professor (I know, ominous horror music fades in because we're all horrible leftists who brainwash your kids) but this is a rebranding of multiple other techniques that have existed for some time. Blended learning is the latest trend at the college level. I am solicited by those promoting the rip thing, but in conversations, they realize its not really new, but a rebranding of blended learning techniques. The h.s. teacher above did a good job describing it. I use it. Have for some time. I like it, because it stimulates discussion of information and one can add depth to facts, applications to rote information. At least that's my approach. A pre lecture assignment. Then discussion in the lecture. Most students either love it or hate it. Why? Because those who are intelligent and made lazy brain by our verbatim regurgitation method...thrive! Those who tolerate learning for 'the piece of paper' feel betrayed because they learned how to work a system where all they had to do was sit through it and survive the boredom. Now that informal agreement has been breached. Either it must be done throughout k-16 or one should expect mixed results. Piecemeal approaches rarely get results for large populations over time.

priest's wife said...

look up khanacademy.org This is an example of 'flip' teaching- students would watch video and practice some at home and then do more practice while teacher is walking around, clarifying, etc

Matt W said...

Khan's book is quite good, too. He's not got a PhD or an EdD in education, and therefore is not immediately suspect.

I'm a college professor of languages, and we've been doing "flipped" for years, though we haven't called it that. We didn't use to have the technology to make it really effective, and now we do. If students do their part, they can make huge strides in acquiring language proficiency.

If done correctly and not just implemented because administrators say so, I think it can be great. In our parish school, for instance, teachers have a hard time dealing with multiple ability levels in the same grade because the school does not have the resources and personnel that the public schools have--how fair is THAT? Teachers have to teach for the average student. Students who are gifted in an area and those who struggle in a subject don't always get the help they need. The flipped classroom can help ameliorate (that's a fancy professor word) the issue because advanced student can keep moving on (with resources like khanacademy.org) and students who have trouble can rewatch videos, get extra practice, get extra time with the teacher or peers who have mastered the concept. Having a student who understand the concept to one who doesn't one-on-one works very well for both: Homines dum docent discunt (professors have to use Latin sometimes--it's part of the job description).

Suzanne Carl said...

I've been a teacher for 25 years, everything from high school to college, and a dip into junior high once in a while. I also home school. Pamela an Proteios explain the methods very well. But this is just a method. It can be used, abused and misused like anything else. I would be asking the school if this is going to be pushed as the only tool in the box, or if previously successful methods will still be used. Frankly, I'd be more excited if the school decided to teach basic logic to the junior high, or read novels with 2nd graders.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I think 'Flipping the classroom' will be especially good for the kids who are above or below average. Below average kids can watch the lectures again and again until it sinks in.

Above average kids are no longer help hostage by a long lecture on something they already understand. Ideally, a flipped classroom should also allow each student to progress at his own rate.

Then, they do the math problems in class, and the TEACHER can help with the questions instead of the parent. So.....

Less homework for you! Woohoo!

I think it's an attempt to reverse the situation where school is taken up with review and discipline, and mom and dad end up having to spend hours every night helping junior with homework....

Justin Tocci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Micah said...

I try to use it in my classroom, but it's difficult as a theology teacher to flip a class. You don't want the kids doing the initial research on their own and seeing the whole lesson through a lens marred by their misconceptions. If I taught a subject where there were more reliable sources readily available to teens, I'd use it more. As it stands, introducing them to complicated ideas they've never been exposed to by asking them to discover them on their own is more often a recipe for disaster.

Julie said...

I am a high school history teacher, and I do a similar approach to flip teaching. I have students take all their notes while they read the chapter as homework using an outline I have provided. I found after a few years of having students take notes in class, it was a waste of time. Note-taking is a low level on Bloom's Taxonomy, using skills such as "define" or "identify." There are so many higher thinking skills that I felt I never got to tap into with my students because we were spending so long on them writing down the basic information. When they have worked with the material ahead of time, when we get to class we can do things like "analyze" "compare" "support" and "differentiate." These are the upper level tasks that can be led more effectively by a teacher.

Here is comparison.....
Lecture style classroom: teacher explains Wilson's Fourteen Points, students copy down a summary during class. Students have homework assignment with a question such as "Why was self-determination a key part of Wilson's plan for postwar Europe?" Student has done the low level task of writng down the summary of the Fourteen Points in the presence of the teacher, and then is left to consider a higher level task on their own.

My "flipped" method: students come to class with a summary of the Fourteen Points already written, and we spend time analyzing.

By the time I work on a new section of a unit with students, they have already interacted with the material 3 times: they read it in the book, they wrote down important information, and they took a short quiz on it. Since switching to this method, my classroom discussion has flourished (you can't ask a good question without background information) and students are enjoying class more.

That is a long answer, but I do believe that having students do low-level work before class to help them be ready for high-level activities during class can be very effective. Teachers are no longer "spoon-feeding" definitions for the student to write down. The teacher is in her rightful place educating students on a higher level.

Kenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kenny said...

I'm a university prof as well and see this as just a realization that we are not a student's only source of information. This last academic year I began to prepare my intro physics lectures with this in mind and ended up with a partially flipped class room.

This technique lent itself well to intro physics. I made online resources available and let the students know that they were to stay ahead of me in the text by at least a lecture. I could then use lecture time to hit the big points to keep misconceptions at bay, answer questions, and have the students work together to solve problems. If I ever felt that they were lost on a subject, I could then revert back to the more heavily "guided" form of instruction.

I think that the biggest obstacle to flipping the classroom is making sure that your students are properly motivated. My students are all adults and I treat them as such. Most rise to the occasion.

Douglas said...

I think it has great potential, as long as the kids can be disciplined enough to study ahead of time and come up with good questions. Quite often kids leave school unable to learn on their own. Having become overly reliant on teachers, they've forgotten that the primary task of learning falls on themselves and that much of the curriculum can be understood if they simply apply themselves and read the material ahead of time. This is what homeschoolers do every day, and it serves them well in a university environment where independent learning is expected.

However, making the cultural jump/transition could be very painful if teachers, kids and parents aren't all on board. Kids need to be motivated to learn on their own as best they can and to come up with questions for this to work. Also, humans are naturally lazy. Once trained in an easier life, it is hard to motivate people to work harder (even for superior long-term results). If the kids aren't willing (or for some reason able) to put in the extra effort up front, then this will never work.

Pamela said...

Mine take notes ahead of time, like Julie's class. I tell them the first few days how necessary this is because of the large amount of biology vocabulary they have to learn - it's like trying to learn science and take a foreign language at the same time for a lot of my students. This year, I let them turn in their notes in advance for their homework and it worked out pretty well, especially for the pre-AP students.

By the end, I had several students ask if they could keep taking notes in advance when I told them I wouldn't require it because of how fast I would move through the material, skipping parts of the book, since they couldn't anticipate what I would skip. I have to admit I was a bit floored when one said "I'm just so used to taking notes in advance now I can't do it any other way". Another commented "I never realized how much it helped to have notes already" and others have said that they can pay attention much more to class when they don't have to write everything down. It warms my heart when they say "Why does the book say xyz?" or "Is it true that etc." during lecture - so much better than them hearing it for the first time in class!

I've had people tell me that expecting high school freshmen to take notes ahead of time is asking too much of them, but by the end probably 95% of the pre-AP classes and 50-75% of the on-level students take pretty competent notes without my help. It's teach by example and they seem to pick it up pretty well.

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