Response: Is the flipped class model here to stay?

Friday afternoon, my brain slowly burning out from another week of information overload and a new tweet grabs my attention. I find myself mustering up enough energy to quickly respond to the question posed by my colleague. Is the flipped class model here to stay? 

I thought I could answer the question in a succinct 140 characters on Twitter and then be on my way to enjoy my weekend with my two little ones, but instead I find myself writing a more long winded response on my Cohort21 blog.

Upper Canada College’s strategic plan outlines many goals for the school over the next 5 years and one of them specifically addresses the flipped classroom model. To paraphrase, UCC is looking to promote diversified models of instruction, these methods include but are not limited to harkness,  socrative,  lecture,  blended and flipped Classroom instruction.  The goal is to promote the use of many different models of instruction in order to expose the students to as many different teaching styles, giving them the opportunity to find one that works well for them. In short UCC promotes an individualized approach to teaching and learning.

The flipped classroom certainly has its benefits and I’ve spoken with students that have found the method extremely helpful, but I have also spoken to students that have found it very difficult. There is a level of self control that is needed to be successful in this model. I believe if this method is used exclusively in the classroom more time needs to be set aside for developing the skills needed to be successful for all students. For instance: as previously mentioned self control, can the student not be distracted by other activities on the computer while they watch the lesson? Organization, can the student take good notes and synthesis the information they are learning in order to draw on it in the next class? Asking questions, can the student formulate good questions in order to complete their understanding of the concepts?

My feeling is the flipped classroom is an efficient and effective teaching method that will always have a place in the teachers instructional toolkit. However, I would caution against it being viewed as a revolutionary new way of teaching. The teacher needs to identify when this method would be most effective and use it. Additionally, the teacher needs to recognize that many students might thrive in this type of environment and would benefit from it. Teaching using one instructional style could alienate these students, who may have been exposed to the method and experienced success in another class.

The tricky part of teaching is figuring out the dynamic of the classroom and what instructional models best suit the students in each class. Teachers need to use all of the tools at their disposal in order to provide rich learning opportunities to all of their students.

5 thoughts on “Response: Is the flipped class model here to stay?

  1. Ryan,

    Wow! I do not know of many strategic plans that actually address specific pedagogical strategies explicitly.
    You mention “UCC is looking to promote diversified models of instruction, these methods include but are not limited to harkness, socrative, lecture, blended and flipped Classroom instruction. ” This is brave and exciting. By making this statement UCC is honouring the past but also standing behind the future and saying we believe these strategies work and we want ALL our teachers to create learning experiences and classrooms that leverage their power. What a forward thinking position. What a great action plan! Where is your staff with respect to their understanding of these strategies and how will you shift them there? Leveraging Cohort 21 for support, examples and strategies is a solid place to start 🙂

    @gnichols @jsmith @lmcbeth @ddoucet @ckirsh

  2. Hi Ryan,

    I am totally echoing Justin’s excitement for the strategic vision you have outlined here. That delicate dance between innovation and tradition is something that BSS is constantly waltzing to as well…it’s a tricky dance, but a fun one if you are okay with stepping on toes now and then 😉

    You should read Adam Gregson’s latest blog post. It sounds like he is taking steps towards some flippery himself. You two should connect: http://cohort21.com/adamgregson/2014/11/25/learning-from-youtube/#comment-12

  3. Ryan: I echo your sentiment that the flipped classroom works for some students and for certain situations. There is no magic bullet in teaching. I believe that implementing the flipped classroom properly, like any teaching strategy is an art. The length of the videos and what they are expected “to do” while they are watching needs to be carefully considered. What surprised me most when I first tried it, was that it was the top students that found it most challenging to adapt to. These were students that learned really well from the socrative approach. With practice, however, they were pushed and challenged to think more carefully while they were learning and in the long run it, in some ways benefit them the most. I definitely think it’s here to stay! My long winded blog post “Flipped Classroom 2.0” describes my journey with the technique http://cohort21.com/melissarathier/?p=49. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  4. Hey Ryan,
    That is some Strat Plan! From what I’ve seen there are good and bad way in which Flipped Classroom is implemented. I think some people think it can teach everything they would normally do in class but it’s important to chunk it and give students time to process. One really effective tool to partner with flipped videos is Edpuzzle which allows teachers to input voice notes, quizzes and the like to allow teachers to collect data on where students are in their learning. Which could be really powerful in choosing appropriate activities to move forward with and a great opportunity to incorporate flexible grouping to meet groups of students where they are in their learning.

    It’s exciting to hear about what’s happening at UCC, and later this year, I would love to visit and see first-hand what you’re up to.

  5. Edpuzzle sounds like a tool I’ve been waiting for! I need to check it out more thoroughly.

    I, too, love your strategic plan, and especially the specificity of it. Too many strategic plans are clear on objectives, but less clear on the concrete steps needed to get there.

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