The Flipped Class and Shifting Paradigms

It is a new year and a new semester for us and I’ve been thinking a lot about the Flipped Classroom and what role it plays in my teaching. While I don’t necessarily share that it is a fundamental shift in teaching methods (yes, I know the videos are direct instruction), I do think the Flipped Classroom shifts education paradigms.

American education policy (testing) focuses on the teacher being a fact-dispensing robot and students as empty vessels that need to be filled. The whole idea of a Flipped Classroom is that the students and teachers are switching responsibilities. I am no longer a disseminator of knowledge and students are no longer receptacles of information. Learning is active and collaborative rather than passive and directive.

The paradigm shift isn’t the fact that I’m recording lectures. It is the shift in thinking that students need to have opportunities to drive their own learning. They need opportunities to work with their peers and struggle together. I am also now “allowed” to make mistakes with the students. The role of teaching in a Flipped Classroom has shifted entirely. I still provide direction in terms of the curriculum, but the methods to get from A to B are now in the hands of the students.

The paradigm shift needs to be driven by teachers, not politicians or bankbooks. We need to be willing to give up old habits and adapt each of our classrooms and schools to meet the current needs of our learners. The Flipped Classroom is how I’ve done that for my kids…how will you meet your student’s needs?

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