On occasion I find there is some resistance to the flipped classroom concept. This is not really surprising considering that faculty are often resistant to new things in general and there is often the fear that if it fails then they are accountable for that failure. This is understandable and considering the trends toward greater accountability. It is hard to convince them that the flipped class strategy is actually something with is going to allow them to improve their course. The other issue here is that we know flipped classrooms are going to create more up front work for the instructor. This is going to increase the resistance even more. Why should they do more work for something they do not have much faith it as an instructional strategy. If this is the nature of the pushback then what can be done to try to get people to even try the strategy?
1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
One possible strategy is to try a unit out with an instructor who is open to the possibility. Make the unit or lesson manageable and keep it fairly simple. If there is a unit where the instructor could really benefit from more interaction in the face to face time this might be a good starting point for increasing the online video content and working on the classroom interaction.
2. Working with the skeptic.
It seems to be a simple approach to take the faculty member who is already using flipped classrooms or is open to the idea and take them and work on their courses. The problem with that is they do not carry the credibility with many of the more negative faculty. The negative ones are just going not going to buy into the work done by the “true believers”. They are just not going to drink the cool-aid that readily. Shoot for the person who is usually somewhat skeptical but may be open to some changes that would benefit the course. If you can get them on board then sometimes some of the nah-sayers will come along for the ride.
3. Appeal to logic.
Many instructors will respond to logic and research. While not all the research on flipped courses is good there is enough good stuff out there that you can make a valid argument for the use of the flipped course. University professors are often very “research oriented” so if you can validate the flipped position in the research many will at least give it consideration. That is half the battle along with some persistence. If you can get this far you may find a few takers who will at least try some of the ideas.
Discussion of student focused learning, blended learning and the flipped classroom.
One of the the things we have tried to do in this blog is make the link between the flipped classroom and blended learning (hybrid instruction) but what we have not done to this point is really discuss the relationship and the student centered approach to instruction. This video has brought these ideas together and shed some light ion what it means to be a flipped classroom in the student centered classroom environment. At this point it is very important to understand the role of the instructor in such a classroom. The instructor becomes the guide or coach in an environment where the student is the collector of the information. No longer does the instructor just feed information to the student. Again we see that the classroom time becomes the stage for that interaction which is essential to learning.
I have received several emails from people who have provided examples of flipped classroom they have started in the past and one current example. A couple of things here; this is not really a new concept but it is the terminology that is relatively new. The other reaction I have had is that the strategies used were pretty much common to the things discussed in this blog. Instructors have been doing this but in a way which was not as structured and organized. Flipped classrooms have become a strategy that has picked up a following and now has some structure to it. I keep looking for examples and shortly I think there will be some good stories I can share with you.