The Controversy of Flipped Classrooms

The Controversy of Flipped Classrooms

Kaiya Cronkhite

The Controversy of the Flipped-Classroom

       Through popular controversy, the flipped classroom is being brought to the frontlines of criticism by struggling students who feel they’re not being heard. The majority of students who took the survey feel they don’t learn well in a flipped classroom, but what exactly is a flipped classroom? As one freshman student puts it “It’s like a regular classroom but you do notes at home and then do what would usually be homework in class”. Though this may be some students’ cup of tea, grade comparisons vary dramatically between flipped classrooms and regular classrooms. A factor weighing into many students’ grades is the video notes they do. The notes are set in a playposit style so the teacher can be sure students did them, but with an average of about 5 graded questions, the cumulative score from the notes isn’t usually positive. Since students are learning this material for the first time they cannot be expected to get a perfect score on every note’s assignment. Gradually the notes bring down their overall percentage towards their final grade, which is damaging in many ways to the students’ mental health. Yes, students may email their teacher or rewind the notes to try to understand but an easier fix to this small problem would be to not count notes as a grade, teachers should keep questions on notes to check for understanding but the score should not be counted in PowerSchool.

       Another tool commonly used in flipped classrooms is MathXL. On MathXL there is a tool called “Teach Me” which walks you through the steps on how to solve the problem. When asked in the survey many students used this tool when they still didn’t understand what they are being taught, and often times these homework scores were improved because of it. However many students claimed that even though they had good scores on their homework assignments they weren’t entered into PowerSchool until after their test on that unit. This left their grades low from bad notes scores and SWYK (See What You Know) checkpoints they didn’t fully understand.

       Many parents of students don’t exactly understand this dilemma no matter how hard the student tries to explain. Everyone struggles sometimes and when you struggle you should ask for help, but students often don’t seem to be comfortable asking questions in a flipped classroom. Many students don’t do their notes and consequently don’t know the content being taught so as a result when the teacher prompts the class to ask if they had questions from the night before, students who didn’t learn the content won’t answer and they won’t ever learn it leading to continual struggles. This also affects other students who may have been struggling on the topic even though they did do the notes. If a student is uncomfortable asking a question when nobody else is then it’s a vicious cycle of students struggling and no one speaking up for themselves.

       When learning in class, students are more engaged as well as creates a better interaction between students and teachers, making it feel more open and comfortable for questions. Another key problem that the flipped classroom doesn’t account for is individuals affected by mental health conditions like ADHD, Anxiety, Autism, and even more. The teacher-student engagement helps to capture and keep a student’s attention no matter what the student may learn alongside with. Learning the lesson at home isn’t engaging and stimulating enough to provide the student with and often just results in them not listening or just dissociating entirely. The inability to ask questions as your learning as well may just lead to frustration and added stress creating subject-related anxiety. With the subject-related anxiety, students may put up a mental barrier and convince themselves that they can’t do it and that there is something to run away from. Students shouldn’t have to hate learning just because they need help and are struggling, but something must be done to prevent this from occurring. Communication is a big thing in solving many issues and flipped classroom communication is just not there. Teachers are trying their best to accommodate every student’s needs but flipped classrooms are creating more problems than they are solving, it puts more unreasonable stress on teachers and students creating much conflict and controversy over what to do and how to teach.