Flipped classrooms seem almost perfect. Students watch a lecture at home. They choose where to watch the video (in bed, on the deck, at the kitchen table) and in an atmosphere that is most conducive to their learning (standing, music in the background). Students can play part of the video again if they are confused or need to hear the material again. Then the next day in class, students and the teacher are able to spend class time working on more meaningful learning experiences.
I read Stacey Roshan’s blog post, “To Flip or Not to Flip” so that I could begin to understand more about flipped classrooms. Roshan is an AP Calculus teacher in Maryland who was tired of the lecturing until the bell rang and watching her anxious students leave the classroom, wondering if they fully grasped the lecture on derivatives and absolute maximums. I was reminded of my high school calculus class – and it wasn’t good memories that came flooding back. The class was entirely lecture based. I would have loved to watch a lecture at home and have the time to talk with my classmates about questions or work with my teacher individually. Maybe I would remember more of it today, or at least remember a more positive experience. Roshan has had several positive benefits of flipped lessons. AP test scores have improved, students have resources that they can continue to reference, performance improvements from students with learning accommodations, and a positive and calm learning environment (yes, I am still talking about a calculus classroom).
And while I won’t be teaching AP Calculus to elementary students (thank goodness), I can promise to make an effort to incorporate flipped lessons into my curriculum.