“Perfastinating” in flipping

--Originally published at Flipping With Joy

I have invented a word our language needs.

For context, here is the series of tweets that leads up to and includes the moment at which this word entered my lexicon:


I know that I am far from the only person who suffers from bouts of perfastination. I know this partly because I made a Facebook post about it and immediately started hearing from others familiar with the condition:

I made brief reference in a previous post to the obstacle that perfectionism poses to my ability to do flipped instruction well.

I want my flipping to reflect learning-goal-based instruction and assessment, so I put off flipping until I've got a great set of learning goals written in student-friendly language, set up in a way that meshes workably well with the textbook my colleagues and I are using (especially given that my department does common unit tests), and with an accompanying assessment scheme that meshes well with the categories of achievement I'm required to use in my province. In other words...until I have a perfect plan of instruction and assessment in place.

I've been introduced to the concept of a lightboard and seen it used effectively by Jon Bergmann in part 1 of the certification course available through the Flipped Learning Global Initiative, so now I've somehow decided it's super important that I use a lightboard in my flipped videos, and researching information and materials to build myself a perfect lightboard without spending thousands of dollars is perhaps getting me more sidetracked than it should (but once it's done, oh my, will it ever be great...right??).

I'm still in the experimenting stage of lightboardery.
I'd like to improve my lighting, for one thing.
Interestingly, I've not seen an image yet of a woman
teaching at a lightboard...why is that?

The problems with "perfastination"

What's getting me closer to giving up this "perfastination" is reflection on its impact. There are at least three problems with "perfastinating" flipping in these ways that I can see:
1) Not flipping means I'm trying to get by with traditional teaching in the meantime, with all its attendant problems.
I've already written a post about problems solved by flipping (and so have many others). The flipping I have done in the past didn't yet have a solid foundation of learning goals and was not done using a snazzy lightboard, so why shouldn't I at least do what I can while I keep working behind the scenes to improve?
2) Perfastinating discredits the great stuff I've already done in previous flipped lessons.
Students have learned from the flipping I've already done -- even the early videos that had awful sound, awful tablet writing, awful lag from the document camera, and even an entire section I forgot to edit out (my students did ask why I'd kept repeating myself in a certain part of the video, but ultimately they shrugged it off and kept watching). It doesn't have to be perfect to do good for the students. If I really believe even the imperfect flipping I've done has been more helpful for students than a traditional lesson on the same material would have been, I should embrace that imperfect approach for now, for their sakes.
3) Perfastinating sets up a standard that is impossible to expect from others, and thus kills a tiny part of the momentum of the global movement.
I'm working on my flipped trainer certification. I'll be running a PD session for some interested teachers at my school next month on the flipped classroom. Am I going to tell them they have to do it perfectly or not even bother at all? Of course not! I need to give them an achievable vision for how they can start. I can point to my own small beginnings from my early days of flipping, and talk about how I've grown in my flipping over time -- and I can tell them that while I'm still not perfect in my own implementation of the model, I'm growing, and the students and I will grow together. (And as more people get on board the flipped classroom train, there will be more of us to hep each other along!)
Actually, that reminds me of another part of Wednesday's chat:
Maybe it's not easy being green, but it's time to embrace my inner frog, and make the jump anyway. Wish me luck and off I go...ribbit, ribbit.
[but is this blog post perfect enough to publish :)?]


Leave a Comment