I have been somewhat skeptical about flipping the classroom. My initial thoughts were that it amounted to switching student and teacher roles. Dr. Robert Talbert discusses this concern of students: “Shouldn’t the teacher to do the teaching?” This concern is dismissed with a proper understanding and application of flipping the classroom.
There are three basics that I consider when deciding whether I will flip a classroom topic: (1) the learner, (2) the teacher, and (3) the outcomes.
- I believe most learners have the capacity to learn in this way. My initial informal experimentation with flipping has given me the confidence that all students can extract knowledge from resources that they have never encountered before. I am surprised by how well students respond.
- While some teachers are very gifted using a lecture format because they are very engaging (and entertaining), I do not enjoy lecturing, nor do I like the sound of my own voice. But, I do enjoy making learning resources and working one-on-one. So, flipping suits my own teaching style.
- The outcomes are the most variable of the three. By definition, VocEd learning outcomes mirror the workplace. I find it difficult to reconcile the idea of bringing work (resources) home and the idea of proper time-management on-the-job. In industry, if you are bringing work home, you are not managing your time, or you risk longevity in your career. My use of flipping must include limiting the take home resources in a way prescribed by Pamela Kachka.
Each of these is variable. So flipping may or may not always be the best course of action. Generally, I think it works well for students and teachers. But, without some modification, I have reservations about flipping the VocEd classroom. I will continue to consider its use on a case-by-case.