Instead of practicing the traditional method of teaching, some teachers prefer using the flipped classroom method for instruction. The traditional method of teaching includes instruction, notes, and guidance during class time and homework outside of class.
Unlike traditional teaching, the flipped method of instruction delivers content to students via video, slide show, podcast, or website outside of the classroom, and students then spend their class time applying the information.
The flipped classroom of course has its pros. Students can be more independent and apply concepts in the classroom. Content is more accessible, and students have more control over their learning. However, if students have trouble understanding the content, they don’t have a prompt source of answers to their questions.
From a teacher’s point of view, this teaching method seems easier for students. Give students a video to watch or a book to read, and allow them to work in class. Some teachers even think class time is better spent coaching students on an assignment rather than straight instruction. But this puts a lot of stress on the students outside of class. Juggling instruction and assignments outside of class can be difficult for some students who do not have proper resources and time. We should always consider what is most effective for the student’s education rather than what teachers may think is easier.
When material is presented outside of the classroom, students may find it difficult to understand because questions cannot be answered immediately during instruction. Instructional videos could solve this problem, but students cannot ask questions and get an immediate response via video. Let’s say a student is watching an instructional video on how to code. The student may not know how to apply a certain component virtually. The student is now stuck until they get an answer to their question and become unprepared for class.
In traditional classrooms, students are free to collaborate with other students on topics they struggle with. For example, if a student does not understand the Pythagorean theorem the way the teacher explains it, they can always turn to a fellow student and ask them how they apply a2 + b2 = c2. With the flipped classroom approach, students cannot do this, at least the traditional way. Of course, there is texting and other digital collaboration tools, but students do not always have access and take advantage of it. Face-to-face verbal communication will allow students to explain their way of thinking in depth.
Even though traditional teaching often requires lots of homework, students can at least understand the topic enough to work on it on their own. On top of the homework students receive in flipped classrooms, students also have to teach themselves to a certain degree. With instruction being outside of class, students take up the responsibility to be their own teacher, spending lots of time on assignments trying to fully understand the topic. Students may even need to use outside resources like Google to answer their questions (which is not always accurate). The more a student struggles with a concept, the longer it may take to complete assignments out of class. That can inadvertently interfere with extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, and part-time jobs. With so many other responsibilities, students should not have to stress about hours of homework.
Traditional classrooms structured the way are for a reason, presenting information to students verbally with room for questions will always be better than not having a teacher to call on to answer questions. Students should spend time outside of class applying content, not learning it.