I recently read an article about the Flipped Classroom and one on why we should rethink and question homework. As discussed in an earlier post of mine, the flipped classroom is essentially reversing the typical lecture and homework elements in a classroom. The “video lecture is often seen as the key ingredient in the flipped approach.” Students would view a video or podcast created by the teacher at home before coming to class and the class time would be spent discussing the video/podcast and doing other hands-on activities. The teacher plays more of the role of a coach or facilitator. The class becomes a workshop of sorts where students can inquire about the video lecture. There are various approaches to this type of classroom. Some teachers may implement certain aspects such as having quizzes and homework online or the occasional video lecture where others could do a full immersion flipped classroom.
One advantage students have with a flipped classroom is the ability for them to replay the video lectures if they misunderstood something. Students can pause, rewind, and fast-forward as needed. Being able to pause and reflect on what the teacher said is something that may not occur in a classroom lecture. Captions can be provided for those with a hearing impairment and the ability to control the pace of the video is of particular advantage to ESL students. The teacher could also post online quizzes in which students could receive instant score reports after completing. As there are advantages, there are also downsides. One of the major disadvantages is the fact that flipping a classroom requires a great deal of preparation and extra work for the teacher. The students may also be reluctant to spend so much time on schoolwork outside of the classroom. This could also be tricky if the entire school has a normal classroom except your flipped one. I personally think the entire school should be on board if the goal was to have a fully flipped room. It was also mentioned in the Flipped Classroom article that students tend to complain about the “loss of face-to-face lectures, particularly if they feel the assigned video lectures are available to anyone online.” The processing and delivering of the video could also vary depending on home, some having slower internet speed than others, which could be frustrating to some. If certain students do not have access to the internet, an even greater challenge is at hand. Overall the student-led feel and the change of role of instructors in a flipped classroom can be interesting to experience for any instructor. I hope to test out a semi-flipped classroom for a given amount of time, perhaps for one or two chapters and see how the class responds, (as I stated in my earlier post on the (INSERT LINK TO PRIOR FLIPPED CLASSROOM POST)
The article about rethinking homework was an excellent and quick read that I recommend to all teachers to give a glance at. The French teacher who wrote it made some excellent points. She proposed the idea of making homework more tailored to a variety of student’s needs by giving options of homework assignments. I think this is an intriguing idea and it really made me rethink the concept of homework. It is true that this would probably mean a bit more work for the teacher, but what would be the result? If students were to take homework more seriously if they had the choice between three options, I would say it was worth the extra work. I believe in general giving students a CHOICE in the classroom is very important. When students feel they can choose the “better” of the 3, personally for them, they may complete that assignment better than if they were to do another one that they had no interest in. Some students may prefer multiple choice or fill-in type work where others could prefer written work, (personal writings, short paragraphs or of the like.) Either way, the next day when going over the “homework”, the teacher could choose to go over 2 of the 3 and those who did not complete choice A for example, would just follow along and act as if this was an assignment being done in class, therefore they would still be expected to participate. It could keep students on their toes wondering which homework assignments would be gone over the next day. Depending on the day and what was accomplished, and if the material was new or a review, all of this would make a difference in the type of homework assignment/task it was. If the material was being reviewed, the homework would expand their knowledge whereas a new topic would be reviewed in the homework. It is too difficult for me to say how I would structure my homework as I have not yet had my own classroom, but one thing that is sure is that I would try my absolute best to keep it engaging, informative, and fun if possible.