Flipping the Classroom, or Lazy Teaching?

The Southerner

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By Anders Russell

I am sitting in the library, feverishly writing on a sheet of notebook paper. This is the state you may find me in during lunch. It may appear to others that I am doing homework, but actually I am doing what many consider “learning.”

“The Flipped Classroom” is an emerging concept in modern teaching and is present in several classes at Grady. Though I have taken classes that follow this concept with different teachers, my experience has always been the same.

The flipped classroom is becoming a very popular method of teaching throughout the U.S. and many schools are beginning to use it in favor of traditional methods. What is going wrong at Grady than? The flipped classroom is good in theory, but can never work as it is supposed to right now at Grady. Teachers rely on kids learning at home so they can do activities during class. The problem is that some students don’t have the resources to watch videos and PowerPoints at home and others decide not to. When students don’t learn at home the whole class period is a waste, many students can’t complete the activities, and this leads to teachers checking notes for a grade in class. Most students then take notes for a grade but don’t understand the information that they are supposed to be learning about.

On top of taking notes at home, many flipped classes still require you to do worksheets and packets at home. This is defeating the purpose of a flipped classroom and in my opinion is just lazy teaching. The point of the flipped classroom is to learn at home and to complete interactive activities during class; not to take notes and do activities at home.

Interactive activities are a focus of the flipped classroom. This is where many teachers come up short. I always cringe when I see the freshly printed papers coming down my row. Worksheets aren’t very interactive and quite frankly bore me to death. A flipped classroom needs activities that truly drive the material home; working with your peers teaches you more than asking your neighbor for answers.

I can’t help but get the impression that when a teacher applies the flipped classroom style, that this teacher is being lazy. A flipped classroom leaves the teacher with little to do other than printing worksheets copying PowerPoints. On top of that, when the class doesn’t do well, a teacher will often blame students for not studying hard enough. Instead of pointing the finger at the students, the teachers should be pointing the finger at themselves.

I say that the flipped class can’t work right now at Grady because many students simply don’t have the resources. It is unfair to make students stay after school and during lunch to learn while others have easy access to these online resources. Until teachers can trust their students and properly run a flipped class, there is no need to stray from the traditional classroom style at Grady.

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