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Monday, October 10, 2011

Is the Flipped Class for Every Course?

I had a discussion about this with my wife, who is also a teacher. Her training is in teaching elementary school. She made some valid points about whether or not Language Arts or English and Social Studies would work with a flipped class model. These courses lend themselves much more to a "seminar" type environment where the class has a whole as a lot of discussions and debates.

So, I went to school and had a discussion about the flipped classroom with two of my colleagues in the Social Studies department. They pretty much confirmed my wife's thoughts. In Social Studies, they have a lot of group discussion about things such as liberalism, economics, etc.. They thought that my way of using the flipped classroom in Mathematics was brilliant. Both of them wished they had the flipped classroom when they studied math in high school.

The other thing to consider is that if a student in high school takes 4 courses per day and ALL of these were flipped they may have to watch between 1.5 and 2 hours of videos per night. Is that realistic to expect them to watch that much video? I suppose they may be doing that much "homework" each night.

Some interesting things to think about!!! Please comment on this post and give your thoughts.


  1. Hi Terry-
    These are great concerns, so I wanted to share a couple things with you from a "flipper's" perspective.

    I do teach science, so I don't claim to be an expert in history or LA. But, I have worked closely with some humanities teachers that use a flipped classroom. The first thing I want to say is that it doesn't take videos to have a flipped class...that's just what many of us use as a stepping stone to more meaningful learning activities in the class. Yes, videos are all the hype right now, but no, they are no the end-all to a flipped classroom.

    Second, you're right...not every class should be flipped. If a teacher is skilled in their classroom, by all means, don't flip for the sake of it. I'm using it because I wasn't very good at differentiation or multiple learning opportunities, and now I'm improving in both of those areas. It is a tool that is part of our teaching arsenal that should only be used when appropriate, not across the board.

    Third, Aaron Sams (@chemicalsams) wrote a FANTASTIC article on there not being "THE" flipped class. I highly recommend reading his thoughts because it really sums up the class very well.

    Great thoughts, great issues being discussed. Please email or tweet me if you want to talk some more.


  2. I guess it's no surprise I became a math teacher, given the painful nature of my Social Studies classes in high school. My teachers talked for 80 minutes every day, and made us memorize and regurgitate the dates from their lectures. It was horrible. I would have loved a flipped class where we had opportunities to discuss in class.

    I know that most Social Studies classes don't operate that way anymore, and it is true that there are frequent discussions and interactions in class.

    Couldn't the homework in a flipped English or Social Studies class be a reading or video that the teacher wants the students to discuss in class the next day? This would free up more time for discussion in class.