In response to our recent First Person article lauding the merits of flipped classrooms, Arthur McKee, a managing director at the National Council on Teacher Quality, offers some cynicism, writing that the model is unproven but likely to proliferate “given all the attention (and money) it’s getting.” In order for teachers to be effective in the flipped setting, he writes, several things have to happen:
• Districts have to become more choosey about their online materials than they have been about textbooks. “Good teachers can make up for the shortcomings of bad printed curricular materials through their lectures,” he writes. “But if teachers are asked to focus exclusively on helping students solve problems, they won’t have the same opportunity to get all their students on the same—and right—page.”
• Teachers need more training in assessing student learning. “It’s been shown time and time again that unless students have a firm grasp of the conceptual framework underlying a given topic, they will flounder when given tricky problems or sophisticated projects,” McKee states.
• Teacher need more training in analyzing the data from their assessments and determining “the right next steps for each of their students.”
The first caveat, incidentally, assumes that teachers are not making their own videos, which as of now isn’t true in many cases. (The authors of the First Person piece, for example, appear to produce their own lesson clips.) But that certainly could change as the flipped classroom model becomes more widespread and there are more providers like Khan Academy.
What are your thoughts on McKee’s advice? Do these tips make sense? What did he miss?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.