Bergmann and Sams co-wrote the book Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, which some credit with starting the flipped classroom trend. Today, they serve on the board of the Flipped Learning Network.Given what I see here in my own district, and given what I read, Bergmann's characterization of the two sides in this argument is correct.
Criticism of the flipped classroom model usually stems from arguments between the didactic and progressive camps within higher education, Bergmann said. Members of the didactic camp oppose flipping the classroom to preserve the role of the lecturer, while the progressive camp instead advocates for a move toward project-based learning and inquiry. “That’s where I’m seeing the rub,” he said.
Still in Favor of the Flip
October 30, 2013
By Carl Straumsheim
It's the 'didactic' camp versus the 'progressive' camp, instructivists v. constructivists. As usual.
Flipped classrooms are championed by constructivists.
Speaking of, I'm not sure I ever got around to posting this, but Salman Khan is, at heart, a constructivist. He's a constructivist who believes in mastery learning, which makes him a rare bird, but he is a constructivist nonetheless:
…a teacher can finally have every kid going at their own pace [no grouping by achievement or ability] and have the teacher really focus on what we would consider kind of higher value-add activities, which is running simulations with students, doing actual interventions, getting the students to teach each other the concept. [emphasis added]It's all there, the entire constructivist project, but with the recognition that students need knowledge in order to take part in group simulations.
I mean, I think everyone can testify that in college they learned most of what they're learning the night before the exam from their peers, and then all the way fast-forward to now, what we're seeing in Los Altos is what's happening is all the kids are working at their own pace. They are watching the videos on their own when they have a question. Some students might get 90 percent from a video. Some students might get 60 percent from a video, but when they start to connect with each other, they can start to point out other things, and then they can look for other resources on the Web and they get each other to 100 percent. [guide on the side] …. You know, we're going to try to make the videos as good as possible, but what we think it does is it takes lecture out of the room. We think we're really effective in getting the lecture out of the room and allowing these videos to be consumed in a way that different people [students] can take what they can from them and from other things on the Internet, frankly, and then when they go into the classroom, since the lecture's off the table now, they are now liberated to actually communicate with each other and they're liberated to have a conversation about mathematics. They're liberated to, like, sit next to their teacher. [guide on the side...] So the power, the real beauty isn't actually like, you know, some magic that Khan Academy has a neural plug-in to your brain and can deliver -- the real magic, I think, is that class has so much potential that we're letting happen now, because we're taking all that other stuff that was kind of disrupting traditional class out of the way. And so the real magic is actually what happens when you let people talk to each other.
For me, like, the deepest learning happens with a project-based story, [emphasis added] but the projects can only be useful if people go into the projects with the core toolkit that -- so they can understand what's actually going into -- going in an analytical way. So every student working at their own pace, it doesn't matter what grade they are, what age they are. In fact, we're starting a few pilots with multi-age groups in the same classroom, and some can work on things that are below grade level. [in-class tracking via differentiation]
And then what we're hoping is it informs the teacher enough, saying, "You know what? I think the students in my class are ready for this type of a project and that type of a project". And I think right now we are putting it on the teacher, like, "We've kind of liberated a lot of this core stuff off of you. You won't have to give the traditional lecture. You won't have to do the traditional homework, but you how [sic] have, I would say, maybe a larger responsibility to do more of this less-traditional stuff, which is invent an interesting project or find an interesting project". Two summers ago I was running a little summer camp myself and I wanted to experiment with this, just eat my own dog food, to some degree, on what's going on. So what I did is I had the students that used the videos and the primitive kind of the exercises back then to learn a little bit about probability and multiplying decimals and fractions and all that. And then what I wanted them to really internalize what probability is and what expected value is. I did a bunch of simulations. One of them had the -- I don't know if you've ever played "Settlers of Catan". It's like a trading game, right? So, like, we're all in one civilization and we can build roads, but we trade. Like, to build a road you need, like -- I don't know. I forgot -- like, two woods and three bricks, and you can build a road. And you might have four woods, and so we'll try to trade. We're competitive, but we're also trading with each other, but obviously if you see students who've already mastered the basics of probability, they've watched some of those videos on expected value, then this would be an ideal exercise for them, because they're really going to internalize what expected value is.
We genuinely feel like the teachers are getting liberated here. Do what you want on whatever day and the students are going to do what they want on this day, and we're freeing tons of class time for you to do what I think you went into teaching to begin with. Like, when I ran my little summer camp -- and I won't claim to have 30 years of experience and all the rest, but what was fun for me was not having to give a lecture on these common multiples, not having to give a lecture on probability, to know that that was out of the way and getting to do this super fun simulation where the kids are trading pieces and all this. And I felt like I was able to express my creativity. I was able to go home and say, "What would be a really cool way to understand this concept intuitively"? And when I went to classroom, that's what we did, and I felt like it was a much richer experience. And so we genuinely feel and we genuinely hope that it's doing that for teachers, and the teachers of Los Altos have expressed that, that they love -- that they feel liberated.
Salman Khan on Liberating the Classroom for Creativity (Big Thinkers Series)
Lecture is gone, "traditional" homework is gone, the responsibility to make sure students are actually acquiring the knowledge they need is gone (if the Khan videos don't do the trick, students help each other find what they need on the internet)…. et voilà : the teacher is "liberated."
I remember, listening to Salman Khan's keynote address at the Celebration of Teaching and Learning, his saying that one of the reasons he began taping himself was that he found teaching the same core content over and over again to different cousins boring.
He was bored.
That is the problem, right there.
If you can't find teaching and reteaching the same core content interesting, exciting, and engaging, you shouldn't be teaching.
I am teaching basic content to my students, who are "basic writers," and I am never bored. Ever. Maybe one day I will be, but not now. The content I teach always seems new to me, and exciting, and thus via the magic of mood contagion I am able to persuade my students, at least to some degree, that the content I teach is new and exciting to them, too.
A bored teacher is a bad teacher.
If our schools have bored teachers, the answer isn't to "liberate" them from teaching.
The answer is to fire them and hire teachers who aren't bored.
For the record, throughout all my years of having children in public schools, I haven't seen a big problem with bored teachers.
How long have I been writing ktm now? (Don't answer that!) Have I ever written a post about bored teachers in lo these many years? No. (At least, I don't remember writing any posts complaining about bored teachers.)
All of my kids have had numerous teachers who gave the impression of being fully engaged with the kids and with the content they were teaching. The problem has always been curriculum, absence of effective practice regimens, absence of formative assessment, absence of accountability for kids actually learning what was covered in class, etc, etc. Oh, and the artifacts.
At least from where I sit, Salman Khan is trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. He is projecting his own boredom with basic instruction onto actual classroom teachers and then fixing the problem he would have if he were a basic classroom instructor. Which he isn't.
And of course he has tiny little kids who have not attended public school, so he has absolutely no idea what public-school group "simulations" are actually like, or how fun it's going to be for his kids to sit through 6 hours of public-school group simulations every day, 5 days a week, for 13 years.
He's got a lot to learn, our Salman.
In the meantime, though, and thanks to his elevation to superstar status by Bill Gates, he gets to transform US public education.
Eureka, part 2
Eureka, part 3
Eureka, part 4
Eureka, part 5
Flipping the Classroom: Hot, Hot, Hot
MOOCs grow the gap
The New York Times is surprised
In the world of MOOCs, 2+2 is never 4
World's funniest joke: humor depends on surprise
Dick Van Dyke on comedy
Philip Keller on the flipped classroom
If students could talk
Who wants flipped classrooms? (Salman Khan on liberating teachers)
Are math & science lectures boring in a way humanities & social science lectures are not?