Flipped Classroom: Cons

During the past couple of years, the teaching method of “flipped classroom” has gained unprecedented popularity. Many schools across the nation have implemented this teaching style, in hopes that students will have increased understanding of difficult concepts. However, flipped classroom’s popularity has already begun to fade due to the mix of results. As a student who has experienced it firsthand, I believe that the traditional method of teaching works much better.

I took my first flipped-classroom course this year – AP Chemistry. My teacher, Mrs. Thompson, explained the concept of flipped classroom as well as the reasoning behind it. In a normal class, students take notes on a lecture that the teacher delivers during class. After school, they go home and begin the homework problems assigned. In a flipped classroom, the opposite scenario occurs. The learning begins at home, with students watching a video of the lecture, which the teacher records and posts online. They are also given a worksheet with questions that are answered in the video. At the end, they can write down anything that they are still confused about. The next day in class, they begin the problems that they would have done at home in a normal classroom style. This way, the teacher is available to work through problems with them if needed. In a normal style, the students have to tackle the questions on their own, which may result in extensive confusion, or worse, blind copying of answers from the Internet.

This logic seemed pretty sound to me. I could recall nights where I struggled over confusing concepts, and having a teacher to explain it to me would have been really helpful. I went into the class with an open mind. Mrs. Thompson was one of the best science teachers I had ever had, because she took the time to explain all the material clearly in the videos, and she welcomed questions wholeheartedly. Yet, I felt that I was learning everything in class. I watched the videos almost every night, and by the time I came to class the next day, I probably only remembered half of what I saw. When it came time to doing problems, I was lost and would have to go back to the chapter to relearn the concept, and then come back to the problem set to finish it.

As the course went on, we adapted to the flipped classroom and also followed up with questions in class.  This really helped with my understanding of the concepts, because we could ask the teacher questions right away and she would clear up any confusion.  She made sure that she gave us at least thirty minutes of work time, nearly every day, and this was really beneficial because we could work through problems with her if we were still stuck. The unfinished problems that I did at home helped me to see if I had really understood the concept. This approach was more like the classic “lecture at school, homework at home” approach, and I found it easier to learn. Mrs. Thompson was really flexible with how we learned, which was helpful because she continued to post videos, but also held lectures in class as needed.

Thus, after my experience with a flipped classroom, I feel that the classic teaching style works more efficiently. It has less technological issues, and allows more student-teacher interaction, which is not as present when the student is watching a video. Additionally, the students understand concepts more thoroughly. Though I did not personally prefer it, I am grateful to Mrs. Thompson for providing me with the chance to participate in a flipped classroom and experience learning in a different way.