One of the best things about HAPS (in my opinion) is the priority it places on TEACHING and LEARNING. I was a first-timer at the annual conference in May and I felt a powerful sense of community among a diverse group of humans gathered together to maximize our effectiveness in the classroom. I am passionate about ensuring I am doing my best work to help my students learn, and it was nothing less than inspiring to spend a week with so many others who felt the same way.
And this is why I am flipping my classes. I feel very strongly that my methods improve student learning. However, I find it extremely frustrating that I really can’t PROVE it. I want to be able to point to numbers that convince folks to make this change…but there is an irritating weakness in any data I collect in my own classroom. I cannot say for sure that any improvements I see are the result of my pedagogy, because the fact is I am improving as a teacher every single day that I am breathing. There is just no doubt that I am a better teacher today than I was 2 years ago (and even 2 weeks ago) and this alone could very legitimately explain the improvements in retention and pass rates that I have seen in my courses over time. And comparing my data with my colleagues? The number of confounding variables in such a comparison would be pretty much confounding. So how can I justify encouraging folks that the flip is the way to go?
To be honest, this week I’ve been really struck by the reasons we should NOT flip…because it is a lot of work. So why am I flipping my classes? First, my students LIKE IT. This is huge for me. Learning is hard, rewarding, valuable and important WORK, and we’re more likely to DO IT if we enjoy it. And second, I’m a committed flipper because I believe it is better. I wish I had a more convincing way that I could “prove” this.
I am excited that Elaine is on board to also blog about flipping. It will be fun (for all of us) to hear a different perspective on the approach, although as she already said in her first post, we’ve both “drunk the kool-aid”.