Teachers Not Flipping for Flipped Classes

Connor Jang, News Editor

Flipped teaching, in which students watch videos of lectures at home so the teacher can spend more time interacting with students during class, has been gaining momentum across the country as a way of improving instruction and engaging students who grew up watching YouTube videos, according to supporters.

But not many at Rio is flipping for the idea.

Instead most teachers say the increased use of technology – at home and in the classroom – can aid learning, but shifting lectures to videos that students watch on a computer at home is not the answer to closing the education gap.

With the increased accessibility to technology and the internet, teachers have the ability use videos and online lessons to teach curricula at home.

“I started posting videos at the start of the second semester, my first year of teaching,” math teacher William Begoyan said.

“Technology allows me to extend instruction and make up for lack of time in the classroom,” math teacher Dag Friedman said.

“Some students need more examples and just more time digesting a lesson and this allows me to reach those students outside of simply tutoring them at lunch.”

Flipped classes are gaining popularity among teachers in the community because it allows teachers to help students on homework during class.

Students re-watch videos over and over until they absorb the information: education through repetition.

“I love the idea but its hard to convince students that it’s a legitimate method of instruction,” math teacher Dag Friedman said.

“For one lesson, early on in the first semester, I had my Calculus class watch a video of the lesson with the intention that the next day I would then have them work while I went around in the role of a guide. It did not go well. Even with a lot of really good students, and my Calculus class is full of really good students, not everyone watched the videos and those who did, still seemed to want the more traditional instructional style. For myself it was awkward too because I ended having to go around to a lot of groups and reteaching the concepts from the videos instead of simply filling in gaps.”

The fact that students might not take it seriously is the main reason for opposition to flipped classes.

Due to a low homework completion rate in his class, just 30 percent, Begoyan is skeptical of the system.

“If the homework was to learn the lesson at home, and less than 30 percent of my students did that, they would not be able to the homework in the classroom,” Begoyan said.

Biology teacher Nichole Brashear said that she likes the idea in principle, but hasn’t applied it in her classes yet because she wants to do it right.

“I think there are times it can be very effective,” Brashear said.

“You’d have the kids watch something online and then they’d practice it in class. The worry is that there’s the kid without internet access. The other issue is that if they’re absent and they don’t get the assignment, they won’t do what to do at home.”

Brashear added that she’d be open to using it when she learns it better.

“I haven’t used it yet because I feel I need more training. I don’t like new stuff unless I feel really comfortable with it. I want to do it right the first time.”

Student opinion is mixed.

“I think that person-to-person interaction between student and teacher is how you learn,” senior Dana Lites said.

“Seeing a video does not help you learn if you have no idea what it’s about in the first place.”

“We’d waste less time in class,” senior Kelsey Showler said.

“The teacher would only help people with what they’d need help with. If you need personal help that’s when you can get it. It’s preparing children better for college.”