Your comments: Flipped classes
January 20th, 2012
08:02 AM ET

Your comments: Flipped classes

(CNN) This week we published two pieces on “flipped” classrooms on Schools of Thought. Flipping combines online video tutorials that students watch at home with assignments that students complete in class – the reverse of the current typical American student’s school day.  Donna Krache explained the nuts and bolts of the process in Five minute primer: Flipped classes. Clintondale High School principal Greg Greene explained how he flipped his entire school in his post: My View: Flipped classrooms give every student a chance to succeed. The Detroit-area administrator says that when he flipped his school its failure rate dropped and test scores rose.

What do you think about flipped classes?  Here are some of your comments:

I have 2 kids that attend the school and absolutely love the flipped school. Not only with the structure, but how the kids are able to connect with their classmates and teachers with questions through blogs and emails right away. If they can spend time on Facebook and YouTube, they can take a few minutes to watch a video of the next lesson which is not just a boring lecture…..the teacher/parent roles are now reversed with the bonus of the teachers teaching the lesson at your house. This helps the parents when their child has a question with assignments. I would have to read through the chapter and maybe even search the internet and hoped I explained it to them correctly. That is now what the teachers are doing, they review the lessons and answers questions. (from parent)

This is nothing short of brilliant. Some of it may be placebo effect or kids just feeling like they're getting more attention/special, but you know what? Who cares. It works. (from zach)

This is a great idea in theory, but if you can't get your students to do regular homework, how do you get them to watch a lecture? What happens if they go to class without watching the lecture first? (from mk)

Does anyone else have a problem with students (75 %) on free or reduced lunch but they "watch these videos outside of class on their smartphone"? Seems to be a bit of priorities that aren't where they should be. Breakfast, lunch and dinner...maybe there is an app for that...??? (from Joshua)

I'm a little tired of seeing all these comments that "the kids shouldn't have smartphones if they can't afford lunch" and "the parents should be helping these kids with their homework." That may be true, but that isn't the reality we live in. This principal should be applauded for trying (successfully) to help students succeed and graduate. Kids are not going to stop using their smartphones, so let's use technology to help them learn. Great idea. (from cma)

Perhaps the problem is parent involvement. Parents are too busy, or unable, to help students with homework. Thus, it is up to the teacher to now fulfill the role of parent as well. (from Wes)

What this is, essentially, is cyberschooling where homework is done collectively rather than independently and monitored by someone other than a parent.
Here is where I, as a parent, am resistant to this: time. My kids attend an extended-day/extended-year school. By the time they are home and out of uniform it is 5 pm. Do homework, eat dinner, wash up, go to bed. That is the evening–no time for interacting with a parent or reading a book or whatever. If a kid wants to participate in outside activities, it takes a sledgehammer and a lot of note-writing. (from RabiaDiluvio)

 Has anyone considered the negative impact this will have on employment? "Teacher" is one of the most widely held occupations in our nation, and the replacement of millions of government workers by a high-quality video feed would be economically devastating. (From DeepEper)

He's making an assumption that this model works under a certain set of untested conditions that may or may not be improving student performance.… It's hard to say how his model performs until you test it in a variety of school systems with a difference student population. The other problem is that I see with this methodology is a dependence on these technologies in order to get an education. A $300 smart phone doesn't replace reading a text book, and books are much cheaper to provide for. Plus it's incentivizes children away from active reading, and more towards watching and listening, which is passive. Essentially, you're making it easier for them to be lazy.(from Godstar)

We can sit and fire torpedo salvos at the principal over methodology and leaving out critical details about measurement to our warm-officed behinds content, because we're not there. If the business where you currently sit was failing, and failing miserably compared to other businesses in your sector, you would be an absolute fool not to try something – ANYTHING- to change the course of events. Please shut up, sit down, and let the man do his job. Kudos! to you, Mr. Green! Every plan has shortcomings, but (by God) at least you're moving! (from Curtis)

Principal Green has offered to answer some of the questions that were asked among the hundreds of comments we received, so check back with us next week.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Posted by
Filed under: Practice • Voices
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. mburke

    I am a teacher using the flipped classroom model. I'm finding that it allows me to make connections with my students that I wasn't able to before. I am creating independent learners/thinkers that are coming into my classroom ready to discuss and apply math concepts. The students that have bulked at watching the videos are the same students who would be sleeping through my instruction in class, by alleviating the lecture I am able to develop differentiated class activities that engage these students and give them a reason to come to class prepared. The students have the time to master math concepts as well as develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills they need to succeed in their post secondary endeavors. These students think, learn and socialize in a technological world outside of the classroom, they get the majority of their information from the web. Why do we continue to think that the "old school" education system holds any relevance for them?

    January 22, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • aflarend

      What you are doing in class can be considered "old school" since it is what has been advocated by both educational researchers and experienced teachers for literally decades. If "flipping" is what it takes for some more teachers to really engage in active learning and for administrators to give them the support, then great. That is really the point, not video lectures and in class homework. The lectures can be irrelevant if all they are are the same lectures given before and not constantly adapted to the class. My fear is that this is another reform that we teachers will be mandated to make without being told the underlying reason of active learning and without adequate time and resources to fully implement it, only to see it go by the wayside in the typical 2-3 year cycle of reforms

      January 23, 2012 at 7:15 am |
  2. Linda

    The parents who may not have completed their own education could watch the lessons too and possibly learn something. At the very least they can at least see what their child is being taught. I'm not a teacher, but I think it is a great idea and would even help prepare students for college. A teacher can prepare a lesson and have the opportunity to present it in full as planned without having it disrupted by student discipline issues. The students who want to take advantage of the free education offered in our schools will be able to do so and get the most from it. It sounds like a great idea worth trying.

    January 21, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  3. ehaddon

    I absolutely applaud Mr. Green for having the stones to make changes in how school is defined and functions. An excellent resource for learning more about flipped classrooms is Bravo!

    January 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm |