Monday, April 9, 2012

The day without the flip

Today was the first day back from Spring Break.  So, I did not do a "flipped classroom" because I gave my students Spring Break off from homework.  It was interesting, to say the least, in both good and bad ways.

Some interestings to note:
1. I do like "lecturing".  I like being up in front and being active, moving, teaching all over the class, and being that "sage on the stage".  (Just because I like it doesn't mean it's the best way!)
2. I feel like I "scored points" with some of the students who still don't like the flipped classroom because they got their "one day of traditional" and were really happy.
3. I did have two students in particular say that they "liked today's lesson better than the flipped classroom".

Here is student #1
This is one of my A/B students.  All period this student sat lazily back in his chair.  I don't think I saw him actually looking at me the entire period.  He looked like he was spacing out and not paying attention.  When I gave them about 10-15 minutes at the end of class to try some problems in their groups, I went over to him and asked how he was doing today, if everything was alright.  He replied "Oh, I'm doing great!  This lesson was so much better than a flipped classroom one." I said, "It looked like you weren't doing anything; it looked like you were just spacing out all period."  He replied, "Oh, no, look at my notes!  I copied all of the examples down!  Look how neat it is!"

This is a student who just doesn't get it yet (hopefully).

  • He liked the lesson today because he had "permission" to sit there and do nothing. 
  • To sit there and passively receive information.  
  • To sit there and blindly copy down me doing the math.
  • To not really have to think or to do math himself.
  • To not have to talk, discuss, and make connections with material.

He was satisfied with mediocre passivity.

  • How many of our students are like that?
  • How many of our students think that the passive consumption of knowledge the sole bane of their educational existence?

And the big question:

  • How do we get those students to realize and understand  that is NOT true?
  • How do we get those students to WANT that deeper knowledge and understanding; to see those connections and reasons and purposes, and to NOT just be satisfied with "pretty good"?

I feel like I am beginning to see answers to those questions with some of my students, but there are still several left like Student #1 who are smart, bright, and really have amazing futures ahead of them - but yet I feel they are going to make it to the real world and realize that "playing school" has gotten them nowhere.


  1. great post! Got one or two of those students in my flipped classroom as well

  2. Ask him in a month to show you his notes and tell you what they mean. See if you know what they mean! I can't tell you how many times in the last couple weeks students have gone back to their notes from the first half of the semester (when I was still lecturing) and been thoroughly confused. And when I look at what they wrote down, I recognize it as something I wrote on the board, but I can't understand it either. I see in it the real material, and then extra stuff, but I'm pretty sure they were just marks for emphasis or some auxiliary point. If their job is to write down whatever I put on the board, they get an A! But why not just bring a camera?


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