Flipping the Classroom

Another terrific idea from the talented education bureaucracy: flipping the classroom.  The link below is to a pdf file from California Educator (published by the California Teachers Association, December 2012 – January 2013, pages 34-35).  I hardly need to add that this article extols the virtues of flipping.

Before you read the story, you should have some idea of the concept.  It’s simple.  Students will learn the material at home using video, online instruction, and other tools.  Classroom time will be devoted to doing what we used to call homework.  Sounds great, right? Students get help working the homework, they can learn the material on their own.  I will focus on math instruction because that seems to me to be the least amenable to this format.

Except for a few problems.  Different students will learn at different rates.  Each day the teacher will be confronted with, say, 30 students.  For convenience, assume 10 are advanced, 10 are average, and 10 are a bit slow.  How will the teacher handle this situation?  Remember, many K-12 teachers already have trouble teaching math.  Now the poor instructor will be forced to shift gears repeatedly throughout the class.  Instead of preparing one lesson for each class, the teacher must prepare three.  And, most likely, the 10 students will absorb far more than 1/3 of the teacher’s time, leaving the other 20 students bored.

Only the minds of educrats could come up with a scheme like this.  Designed for failure.  You read it here first.

Flipping the Classroom

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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.