‘Flipped’ classroom story sparks debate on teaching style

BY Elizabeth Jones  December 19, 2013 at 6:55 PM EDT


Watch NewsHour’s feature on “flipped” classroom instruction. The segment will also air on the show Wednesday.

PBS NewsHour’s American Graduate team recently visited Clintondale High School in suburban Detroit for a story on the concept of “flipped” classrooms. That’s where students watch class lecture videos at home and do their “homework” the next day in the classroom with their teachers.

The story generated a lot of comments on PBS’ and NewsHour’s Facebook pages. We heard from parents, educators and students.

The conversation on Facebook reveals both positive and negative reactions, with fans chiming in on the the pros and cons at the heart of today’s education practices.

Alexis Mast-Sullivan doesn’t believe the teaching style would work for her classroom. “Most (of) my kids don’t even have computers in their homes,” she wrote.

Others also commented on the digital divide among American students, whereby some may have better access to computers than others.

But could this non-traditional model be exactly what today’s students need?

Scott Ritchie says yes. “Children don’t need to adapt to a system that was designed to teach their parents and grandparents. The system needs to adapt the way it teaches to meet the needs of Today’s students!”

Deborah Sabo thinks this method could work. “This makes a lot of sense for the way most people learn, and it’s more interactive with the teacher as mentor.”

You can also add to the discussion. Join us for a live Twitter chat Friday, December 20 at 12:00 p.m. EST with Clintondale principal Greg Green, Justin Reich from HarvardX and Stacey Roshan, a math teacher who uses the teaching method. You can join the chat on Twitter using the #NewsHourAmGrad or watch the conversation below.

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This story is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.