They want us to “flip” our classrooms. This would mean writing lectures, practicing them, dressing for them, and videotaping them to put online.

1. I do not lecture and to the extent that I do, it works in person. If lectures are bad to begin with, I do not see why I should start giving canned ones. I want to talk to students live, anyway.

2. If I cannot get students to read outside of class, why do you think I would be able to get them to watch videotaped lectures — especially since lectures are bad?

2a. I truly dislike watching videos since they do not permit skimming or speedreading or slow reading or rereading, the way books do. (It is one thing to watch a live performance that has been videotaped, and quite another to watch canned material.)

3. Is it really true that classes before 2007, when “flipping” was allegedly invented, have involved lectures that are essentially read from a textbook, and then “homework” based on “application” of material explained in said lectures and tests based on memorization of correct homework answers? Isn’t that kind of teaching a straw man?

3a. I always assign reading of texts or watching of film, and so on, to be done outside class. In class, we talk about the material and the work we are doing with and on it, and practice the skills we are supposed to be learning. Virtually every course I have ever taken was also given that way. Am I unusual?


7 thoughts on “Flippant

  1. Literature and language classes have pretty much always already been “flipped.” This stupid flipping bandwagon is just another example of people taking a basically good idea (for example, Boice!) and perverting it, re-interpreting it, applying it to things where it doesn’t belong, and generally acting like chimpanzees with crack-laced bananas until nobody knows what’s what anymore.

  2. We’ve always tried to activate student participation. The idea in 2nd language education is to have them speak as much as possible, and that principle extends to the most advanced courses in the major. My courses in the English dept. as undergrad were the same. I’ve never taught more than 30 students and never prepared formal lectures. Flipping is really unflipping, for us.

  3. The only courses in college that worked the way they allege were in math. Professor has written textbook and gets up and reads it to you. I of course ditched those lectures, sat in sun reading textbook and working problems, then went to discussion section with TA. Had my “learning style” preferred the lecture over the textbook, I could have gone to that. Even so, there was the discussion section and the math workshop, so even that class was “flipped.” The only way to “flip” it further would have been to just eliminate the lecture, put it online. This whole flipping discussion really is stupid unless courses and teaching really are as wooden as the flipping advocates claim they are.

    Where I went to college there were large lectures in History and Philosophy and some of the English lectures were large as well. But they were not canned and did not come out of a textbook. You read the book(s) outside class and in class the professor talked about that material in relation to current discussions including their research. Then there were the discussion sections, excursions to archives, research teams, coffee hours. Those classes were “flipped” too, I guess. The only thing they did not have was videotaped lectures online … which I might be against …

  4. What a completely ridiculous, meaningless, stupid and useless idea. I hate these underhanded attempts to push us all into the MOOC model. These MOOCs are a fad. They do not work and will die out soon. In the meanwhile, we have to be exposed to all this idiocy.

    The biggest class I ever taught had 75 students. It still didn’t have any pre-fab lectures. The course had a high participation grade, a lot of discussion, group activities, etc.

    Nobody even does these 100% teacher-centered lectures where a prof just drones on for an hour and then goes away. We are people so busy fixing a non-existent problem when there are many very real ones?

  5. When I teach, I tell stories that students find memorable, and I ask questions. I’ve tried reproducing the former on videotape; it doesn’t work. And of course the back and forth of Q/A doesn’t work. “Sage on the stage” is a straw man. My models are Johnny Carson and Professor Kingsfield.

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