When Flipping Doesn’t Work – A case for the Occasional Traditional Lesson

--Originally published at FLN – Education Generation


Sometimes you learn the hard way.

I found this out this past week as school started and I created an assignment that was perfect for flipping. The assignment wasn’t content related and was at the lowest of the lowest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. What was this assignment you ask? I wanted my high school students to enroll in three different websites that will be used as part of my flipping arsenal. From start to finish, if this took ten minutes to do, then that was probably three minutes too long.

I had this all planned out. Prior to the school year I went to websites I use regularly and created classes in which my students were to enroll. I then wrote an assignment sheet with all the directions necessary for each of the websites. I included a link to each site, what and where to click, how I wanted their names to appear, and the class code for each respective class period. To add a little pizzazz to the assignment, I then created a QR code for students to scan which linked directly to the assignment sheet. This assignment was made for flipping. I thought, “This is pretty basic stuff. I can let them do this at home and that’ll leave me more class time for content.” Ah, the best laid plans…

As it turns out, the vast majority of students were able to enroll in each of the classes correctly. However, the three to six students in each class that didn’t do it right ended up costing me a large portion of the class periods fixing their mistakes. Whoops.

What did I learn from it? I learned that some lessons are best given in a traditional manner. I believe it would have been more effective (and lower my desire for some bourbon on ice at 10:35 am on a Thursday) if I had gone through each website’s enrollment process step-by-step with my students following along. Yes, it would have been banal, but there will be occasions where it’s important to sacrifice the now for the long-term benefits. I LOVE flipping my lessons. I am continually working on improving my craft and I know I’ll get better at it. However, that doesn’t mean it’s beneficial for EVERY lesson to be flipped. Sometimes, the traditional methods still work best.

Until next time…


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