"What's not to like about the flipped classroom?"
I get it. Believe me, I get it. I understand why teachers like me are so enamored with the latest instructional craze. I saw it last night reading the Tweets from an #edchat on flipped classrooms. The attraction for me is that I get to have my cake and eat it too.
The model is based on the idea that teachers can flip the traditional way things are done in the classroom. Whole-class instruction, in the form of lectures or demonstrations or whatever, is now done after class. The application of what was taught, often thought of as homework, is done in class. Technology can support this shift but I am told it is unnecessary.
I like the idea that class time becomes more collaborative in this model. Instead of spending time disseminating information, the teacher can connect with learners one-on-one or in small groups. This offers teachers an opportunity to assess learners' progress in ways that are impossible during whole-class instruction. When learners struggle with a problem, they are not on their own (which is what typically happens when the same problem is assigned as homework). The teacher or their peers are available to support them through their struggles. Essentially, this represents a much more relationship-orientated approach of educating learners.
Outside of class, learners are assigned podcasts, videos, reading, or some other resources that prepares them for the next day's problems the way whole-class instruction used to prepare them for homework. Although technology is not required, it often comes up as a way to replace a lecture. I like the idea that learners might be given some choice as to when, where, and how they watch a lecture/demonstration of the content or skill being covered. I also like the idea that I can create the perfect talk. There will be no more forgetting my place, misspeaking, or being interrupted for a bathroom pass.
This flipped classroom model is a dream come true for teachers like me. It increases the amount of time I can spend working directly with learners without having to give up covering or controlling the content (and doing it perfectly, I might add). But I have spent the last twenty years of my professional (and personal) life working at moving beyond being a teacher like me.
As I see it, the flipped classroom tugs at both my instincts as a learner and my experiences as a student. The learner likes the collaborative approach that views learning from a social constructivist perspective. It fits with what I have learned about natural learning. I embrace this aspect and hope other teachers will as well. It is what the student in me likes - consumption, control, and perfectionism - that causes me concern. My successful experiences in the traditional school setting makes this attractive to me, especially since it "addresses" shortcomings like the ever increasing amount of material to cover and the need to differentiate instruction. But I do not believe that I can have it both ways - satisfying my learner and my student. While others may be able to walk this fine line, I have found that I always end up erring on the side of consumption, control, and perfectionism.
So I get it. I just don't want it - at least not all of it. I will take what works for my learners and leave the rest. And I trust all of you to do the same.