The following is a (partial) list of attributes that was developed in response to the following question: What does "flipping" a class mean? The list is the collaborative work of sixteen high-quality biology teachers, as part of a currently ongoing professional development experience. The phrasing expressed is firmly a product of my limited ability to recall exact words:
- First-pass through content is taken care of outside of class.
- Students are presented with a palette of options for interfacing with content (video, text, etc).
- More class time is spent on labs.
- Direct instruction is conversational in nature.
- Students are asking many of the questions.
- Students are frequently dealing with material in small groups.
- The instructor is frequently dealing from the collaborative stance.
There were others, but the above is representative of major threads.
What is most apparent to me is that the above list is largely indistinguishable from what anyone would call "good teaching" (or at least anyone who is philosophically aligned with my own thinking). That being noted, I am not clear on why we need to describe it as anything other than what it is. I don't consider myself teaching a "flipped" classroom. But I'm doing everything on the above list.
In fact, I'll be so bold as to suggest that taking all of the good pedagogy that is described above, and cooking it down to a single buzzword is anathema to what many (though certainly not all) good teachers would be inclined to do when considering their craft. And who can blame them? Why should we try to condense the complexity of what we do on a daily basis with our students to a bi-syllabic piece of jargon? What, exactly, is that helping to achieve?
I'm not "flipping" my class, I'm teaching it. Should you be fortunate enough to work in this amazing profession, I encourage you to do something similar.