I like this.
Every year U.S. schools grow more diverse. According to the latest studies by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the National Education Association (NEA), nearly half of all students who attend public school right now are from minority backgrounds. Yet both organizations note a critical “diversity gap” in our nation’s education system — not among students, but among teachers.
Among the 3.3 million teachers who work in American public schools, only 18% identified as minorities: 8% as Hispanic, 7% as black and about 2% as Asian. In comparison, 48% of public school students are nonwhite: 23% are Hispanic, 16% are black and 5% are Asian.
Interesting data but seems to suggest we are stuck in an endless cycle.
I think technology could provide a way out.
Flipped classrooms, classes where lectures and lessons are recorded by the instructor for home viewing while tests and labs are done in class, are interesting to me.
I like the idea of myself being able to watch a lecture over and over. Being able to do some research on a topic away from the stress to learn at the rate, or in the same way, as others in my class.
It also seems to use the classroom setting better conceptually. A place where labs, discussions and hands on demonstrations can occur, and are really the main focus of teacher preparation once a lecture is created.
It sounded pretty great to me until I was talking to a fifth grade teacher in the Salt Lake area of Utah. We were talking about various education trends and concepts when I mentioned the flipped classroom concept to her. She was interested but then proceeded to tell me it was already hard to get children, let alone parents, on board with homework or outside of the classroom studies. Plus, how was she supposed to support the filming or preparation necessary to execute the delivery of such lectures and still prepare for the hands on labs.
This little discussion got me thinking. To implement a flipped classroom would take a lot more planning and production than most teachers have the resources, let alone time, for. It would also require a greater at home support/monitoring system for this remote instruction.
My profession is in the film and video industry. One of my specialties is interview documentation and I can tell you right now that most people are not good in front of a camera. It takes a certain charisma and a whole lot of planning to do something like what would be required in a successful flipped classroom environment. There are some teachers who could do this very well but I would venture to say most would do more harm than good in front of a camera.
The flipped classroom is also met with a challenge of time and would require schools to rethink how students can use their time for viewing instruction and hands-on activities. I wouldn’t be the biggest fan of my kids going to class for over 6 hours and then needing to watch lectures for 2+ hours at home, on top of other life demands and activities.
I guess my perspective, at 4 in the morning as I wait to fall back asleep, is that a teacher can flip the classroom for just their class but in order for it to work on a larger scale, it will take a whole lot of preparation. Not to mention changing who can be a teacher and the skill-sets necessary to teach.
Just think of how this would change the layout of schools from a structural standpoint or the at home dynamic. Or how schools saw themselves in the educational marketplace. Wouldn’t this potentially place celebrity status on a teacher rather than a school?
I could talk about this for a long time but it was good to just write a few thoughts down.
Ok. It’s time for sleep.
If you like, take a look at the article which got me going on this subject: